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General Editor: Gordon N. Ray 

Henry James and H. G. Wells 

Edited by Leon Edel and Gordon N. Ray 

Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells 
Edited by Harris Wilson 


George Gissing and H. G. Wells 

Edited by Royal Gettmann 

Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells 

Edited by Gordon N. Ray 


1 1 

H. G. WELLS, lSc)5 




A Record of a Personal 

and a Literary 


Edited with an Introduction by 
Harris Wilson 

Urhana^ 1^60 

Rupert Hart-Davis i960 

Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay and Company, Ltd., 
Bungay, Suffolk 

Anna Wilson 











A. Bennett's review of The Invisible Man 


B. Herbert George Wells and his Work 


C. Bennett's Letter on Wells's Behalf to the 

Authors' Society 





The correspondence between Arnold Bennett and H. G. 
Wells extends from 30 September 1897 to 17 February 
193 1, a few weeks before Bennett's death, and is fullest 
between 1900 and 19 10. From that point the letters tend, 
with frequent exceptions, toward brevity, and the in- 
tervals between letters, again with frequent exceptions, 
tend to increase. This could be due to several causes. 
The literary convictions of the two men were largely set 
by 1 9 10; they had both established themselves among the 
foremost novelists of their time, and they no longer felt 
the need to use each other as sounding-boards for their 
literary theory and practice. Both were prominent and 
busy literary personalities during the war and after; they 
lacked the time for an extensive exchange of correspond- 
ence. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the rapid 
development of transport facilities, especially the motor- 
car, at the beginning of the century made personal access 
so much easier that full and detailed correspondence be- 
came unnecessary. 

I am explicit concerning these possible causes for the 
relative thinness of the later correspondence because of 
the danger of misinterpretation. Bennett's biographer, on 
the basis of testimony from friends of the two men, infers 
that there was a deterioration in their relationship during 
the twenties. Wells himself in his treatment of Bennett in 


Experiment in Autobiography reveals little personal affec- 
tion and makes a rather ambiguous statement concerning 
their later friendship: "We two, he and I, got on in the 
world abreast — and it was extremely good fun for both of 
us. Later on we diverged/' But even though the pro- 
gressive sparseness and brevity of the correspondence 
after 1910 might seem to reinforce these indications of 
growing coolness, the fact remains that two of the 
warmest and most affectionate letters Wells wrote to 
Bennett were in the last year of Bennett's life. 

It is fortunate that the correspondence is densest from 
1900 to 1 9 10, the most important creative decade for both 
men in their development as novelists. Their mutual 
affection allowed a naturalness and candour concerning 
their work that make the series of letters during this 
period indispensable for an understanding of their literary 
method and achievement. The correspondence as a whole 
provides an illuminating commentary upon the Ed- 
wardian and Georgian literary scene. And, most im- 
portant of all, we see in their letters an intimate reflection 
of two of the most interesting literary personalities of our 

In editing the Bennett- Wells correspondence I have 
striven for as accurate a transcription as print will allow. 
For the reader's convenience, the style and position of 
the dates and addresses at the heads of the letters have 
been standardized, and all names of books, newspapers, 
etc., have been italicized. For various reasons the names 


of three ladies have been replaced by initials. For 
biographical information I have used extensively The 
Journals of Arnold Bennett^ edited by Newman Flower 
(London, 3 vols., 1932-33) and H. G. Wells's Experiment 
in Autobiography (London, 2 vols., 1934). Reginald 
Pound's Arnold Bennett (London, 1952) and Geoffrey 
West's H. G, Wells (London, 1930) have been extremely 
helpful. But the wealth of material in the H. G. Wells 
Archive at the University of Illinois Library, Urbana, 
Illinois, has been my chief resource. 

There is a good balance in the letters — eighty-six from 
Bennett to Wells, eighty-seven from Wells to Bennett. 
To my knowledge, these comprise all the surviving 
correspondence between the two men except a few un- 
dated notes which I have excluded on the, grounds of 
brevity and lack of significance or interest. I have in- 
cluded thirty-three letters from Bennett to Mrs Wells, a 
great many of which deal directly with Wells's work, 
two letters from Mrs Marguerite Bennett, a short 
article concerning Wells by Bennett, and a letter from 
Bennett's secretary. Of the letters in this edition. Pound 
and West have printed in their biographies twenty-three 
letters (mostly short passages thereof) from Wells to 
Bennett; Pound has printed sixteen letters from Bennett 
to Wells and one from Bennett to Mrs Wells. The 
remaining 170 letters are published here for the first time. 
I have appended a number of surrounding documents 
which have critical or biographical relevance to the 


correspondence. The first volume of this series of 
publications from the Wells Archive, Henry James and 
H. G. JVells^ provides valuable supplementary material, 
especially Wells's "The Contemporary Novel" and 
James's "The Younger Generation." 

My major debt is to Dr Gordon N. Ray, Vice-Presi- 
dent and Provost of the University of Illinois, and 
General Editor of the H. G. Wells papers, through whose 
good offices I was permitted the pleasant and absorbing 
task of this edition. I am indebted to Mr George Lazarus 
for photostats of Wells's letters to Bennett and for 
lending the originals for checking, to the Public Trustee 
for permission to print Bennett's letters, and to Mrs 
Marguerite Bennett and Miss Winifred Nerney for per- 
mission to print their letters. In am grateful to Miss Eva 
Faye Benton and Mr T. E. Ratcliffe of the University of 
Illinois Library Staff, and Professor Bruce Harkness of 
the University of Illinois English Department, for 
friendly and competent aid on various details. Mr Rupert 
Hart- Davis has gone far beyond the normal call of 
editorial duty in his contribution. Mrs Charles H. 
Shattuck's detailed knowledge of the Wells Archive has 
brought her very close to the status of collaborator in 
this edition, although such errors as remain are my sole 


On 30 September 1897 Enoch Arnold Bennett, a thirty- 
year-old editor of a penny magazine for women, wrote a 
brief letter of appreciation to Herbert George Wells, a 
thirty-one-year-old author of scientific romances, who had 
already been hailed by W. T. Stead in his Review of Re- 
views as "a man of genius." Wells answered Bennett with 
cordiality and at some length. Thus began a personal and 
literary friendship that was to continue unbroken for a 
third of a century. 

At the time he wrote to Wells, Bennett could make 
little claim to distinction in letters. He had arrived in 
London in 1889, a very provincial young man from the 
north, as a shorthand clerk in a law office. The efficiency 
that was to become a legend in later years brought him 
quick if modest success as a clerk, but the widening of his 
intellectual and cultural horizons, largely through his 
friendship with Frederick Marriott, soon made the life of 
the law office impossible for him. He gained a taste of the 
material rewards of writing from a parody of Grant 
Allen's JVhat's Bred in the Bone published in Tit- B its ^ for 
which he received twenty guineas, and offered proof of 
his artistic capacity in a short story, "A Letter Home," 
which was accepted by the Yellow Book. In the meantime 
he had begun his first novel and terminated his career as a 
clerk. With the aid of a £300 loan from his father 



Bennett bought shares in and became assistant editor of 
Woman in 1894. By 1896 he had become editor and also 
attained a small reputation as a reviewer in Lewis Hind's 
the Academy, In 1897 he completed his novel, A Man 
from the North^ which was not published until the follow- 
ing year. At the time of his first letter to Wells, Bennett 
was still at the threshold of one of the most extraordinarily 
successful careers in English literary history. 

Wells's career, on the other hand, was already under 
way. He had settled in London for a second time in 1888 
in ill health and with five pounds in his pocket. He sup- 
ported himself first as an assistant master at Henley House 
School and then as a tutor in the London Tutorial College 
of the University Correspondence College, during which 
time he received his B.Sc. degree from London Univer- 
sity with first-class honours in zoology and second-class 
honours in geology. This academic success enabled him 
to marry in 189 1. But the pedagogical career to which he 
was apparently committed ended in physical collapse. 
Forced to live by his pen, he achieved a minor success 
with informal essays in Harry Cust's Pall Mall Gazette 
and short stories in Hind's Pall Mall Budget, And his 
real accession to literary prominence and fortune came in 
1895, when The Time Machine appeared serially in W. E. 
Henley's New Review; and the book, issued in July of the 
same year, marked Wells as a ^'coming man," as an article 
in the August Bookman attests. The Island of Dr, Moreau 
and The Wheels of Chance in 1896 further enhanced his 


reputation; at the end of the year Wells could record with 
satisfaction that he had earned £1056. -js. ()d. By the time 
he received Bennett's first letter Wells was, in his own 
phrase, "fairly launched at last." 

That Bennett and Wells would form a personal friend- 
ship was almost inevitable. Wells writes in his auto- 
biography: "We were both about of an age; to be exact he 
was six months younger than I; we were both hard 
workers, both pushing up by way of writing from lower 
middle-class surroundings, where we had litde prospect 
of anything but a restricted salaried life, and we found we 
were pushing with quite surprising ease; we were learning 
much the same business, tackling much the same ob- 
stacles, encountering similar prejudices and antagonisms 
and facing similar social occasions. We both had a 
natural zest for life and we both came out of a good old 
English radical tradition. We were liberal, sceptical and 

Yet there were important differences in background. 
Bennett's father was admitted as a solicitor in 1876. Until 
that time, during Arnold's first ten years of life, the 
family's social and economic status had been certainly 
that of the lower middle-class — the father's occupations 
being in sequence unsuccessful potter, draper, and pawn- 
broker; the family's residence shifting from one more or 
less poverty-stricken section of Burslem to another. But 
in 1878 the Bennetts moved to a respectable address in 
Waterloo Road, and two years later the elder Bennett was 


able to build his own house in Waterloo Road between 
Hanley and Burslem and to consider himself rightly a re- 
spected and successful citizen. From the time he was 
twelve or thirteen until his departure for London at 
twenty-one, Arnold Bennett's environment, compared 
with Wells's, was well-ordered and prosperous. 

Wells, like Bennett, spent his early years as the son of a 
shopkeeper. But Wells's father, Joseph, unlike Bennett's, 
was far from being a man on the rise. He subordinated his 
vocation as the proprietor of a small china and glassware 
shop to his avocation as a cricketer; in fact, it was the sale 
of cricket supplies in addition to crockery and china that 
provided the family with a meagre subsistence. But a 
broken leg in 1877 ended Joseph Wells's career as a pro- 
fessional cricketer and seriously diminished the family in- 
come. In 1880, not long after the Bennetts moved into 
their own home in Waterloo Road, the Wells family 
broke asunder. The mother went into service as a house- 
keeper at Uppark in Sussex; the father remained in in- 
effectual charge of the china shop at Bromley; the 
thirteen-year-old H. G. went to Windsor for his first trial 
as a draper's apprentice. From that time H. G. Wells was, 
except for occasional periods with his mother at Uppark, 
on his own. One has only to read his autobiography 
to know what he endured and what he overcame — 
poverty, social and intellectual degradation, ill-health. 
When he arrived in London at twenty-one. Wells was 
already a cynical, resourceful man of the world. 


Bennett at his majority knew a world that was grimly 
materialistic, deadly hostile to the spirit of art. He left it 
with no qualms. But it was also a world in which hard 
work and steady purpose had their rewards. "Self-help" 
was a demonstrable reality in Burslem, and his lifelong 
conviction of that reality made Bennett in many ways one 
of the last Victorians. Edwin Clayhanger's thoroughly 
middle-class life falls far short of its ideal, but nevertheless 
it is useful and rewarding as lives go, and Bennett views it 
with sympathy. Wells knew a world in which pure acci- 
dent of birth, health, or circumstance could thwart and 
crush any individual, no matter what his potentiality; and 
he could easily recall times when only happy accident, or 
what he termed "lucky moments," intervened to save 
him from the fate that haunted Kipps — that drain pipe in 
which draper's shopmen crawled until they died. 

This basic difference in experience and viewpoint was 
bound to emerge as Wells's and Bennett's friendship 
matured. They must have spent many hours in con- 
versation defining and perhaps, at least on Bennett's part, 
trying to reconcile their views. The disagreement is best 
reflected in the series of letters in 1905. In February 
Bennett replies to a missing letter from Wells, in which 
Wells had apparently chided him for expressing a some- 
what na'ive admiration for fine hotels. Bennett protests 
that Wells has missed the irony. In April Bennett in turn 
objects to Wells's attack, in A Modern Utopia^ on the 
Hampstead middle-class. He accuses Wells of revealing 


his class-prejudice and displaying a complete lack of social 
perspective. Wells retaliates in a letter concerning Ben- 
nett's novelj Sacred and Profane Love. He charges Ben- 
nett with a preoccupation with "surface values," an in- 
ability to penetrate beneath the superficial. Bennett 
answers directly, in one of the most candid passages he 
ever wrote, that Wells's charges are essentially true, but 
that Wells himself, in being a "passion for justice in- 
carnate," had his own limitations: "You won't have any- 
thing to do with 'surface values' at all. You don't merely 
put them in a minor place; you reject them. . . . You will 
never see it, but in rejecting surface values you are 
wrong. As a fact they are just as important as other 
values. But reformers can't perceive this." 

Considering this divergence in outlook, one wonders 
how the personal friendship between the two men sur- 
vived Wells's spasms of truculence that alienated so many 
friends much closer in thought than Bennett. But friends 
they remained. As Wells writes in his autobiography, 
"After his first visit to Sandgate [in August 1900], we 
never lost touch with each other. We never quarrelled, 
we never let our very lively resolve to 'get on' betray our 
mutual generosity." The reasons for tlie consistently 
amicable relationship between the two men lie in their 
personalities and characters. 

Wells was an intensely attractive man when he chose to 
be. A great deal of testimony exists to his magnanimity 
and graciousness as a host, his charm and intellectual 


appeal as a conversationalist; his letters to Bennett con- 
tain many examples of the warm and affectionate humour 
that makes comparisons of the early Wells and Dickens 
so common. Bennett records in a Journal entry of 3 1 July 
1904: "Nearly all Wells's conversation would make good 
table-talk and one has a notion that it ought not to be 
wasted; it is so full of ideas and of intellectual radicaHsm. 
It seems a pity that it should not be gathered up. But after 
all there is a constant supply of it. You might as well be a- 
fraidof wasting the water from a brook." To Bennett, with 
his stammer and reserve, Wells's articulateness and liveli- 
ness were things to be envied and, above all, cherished. 
And Bennett, with his wisdom, his ability to see a person 
whole and to discount faults, cherished his relationship 
with Wells enough to be certain that Wells's intermittent 
pugnacity did not destroy it. 

Bennett also had a tremendous respect for Wells's 
mind. He undoubtedly considered him a genius both as a 
novelist and as a social philosopher. Early in the corres- 
pondence Bennett writes, "No one knows more about 
the craft of fiction than you do," and, more than half 
seriously, that it was his ambition "after 25 years of study, 
meditation and prayer, to attempt an elaborate mono- 
graph on you and let this be the climax of my career." As 
late as 1926, long after Wells's novels had taken a direc- 
tion with which Bennett could not have sympathized, 
Bennett writes concerning William Clissold: "This is an 
original novel. My novels never are." And The Outline of 


History "staggered'* Bennett. He wrote Mrs Wells in 
1920, "I cannot get over it. It's a life work." In 1929, in 
an article for the Realist^ Bennett states: "No imaginative 
author of modern times has exerted an influence equal to 
that of Wells." 

There was, in fact, a deep mutual respect between the 
two men. In 191 2 Wells wrote to Bennett "You have the 
best mind in Europe (in many respects)" and in 1924, 
"You are the master craftsman. There is no one like 
you." Wells also felt strongly in Bennett the generosity of 
spirit that endeared him to everyone who knew him well. 
But from beginning to end, and with Bennett's calculated 
sufferance, Wells dominated the friendship. When Wells 
visited Bennett at Trinity Hall Farm in December 1902, 
Bennett's mother and sister, according to Pound, re- 
sented Wells's condescension to Bennett and wondered 
how he bore it. Even when Wells, in a fit of impatience, 
threw a pillow at Bennett, he did not retaliate. Through- 
out the first fifteen years of their correspondence, Bennett 
wrote long, detailed critiques of Wells's books, but 
Wells's appraisals, even of The Old Wives' Tale^ which 
he recognized immediately as a great novel, were brief, 
though usually, it is true, penetrating. It is particularly 
revealing to note Bennett's long, painstaking comment- 
aries on such books as A Modern Utopia and Mankind in 
the Making, which could not possibly have held great 
interest for him. As late as 1920 we find Bennett proof- 
reading a reprint of The Outline of History, and within a 


year of his death Bennett wrote a long, carefully reasoned 
defence of Wells, who had embroiled himself, to the con- 
sternation of his friends and admirers, in a futile and al- 
most hysterical quarrel with a former collaborator and the 
Authors' Society. 

Wells's statement in his autobiography concerning 
Bennett contains some truth: "He was impermeable. He 
learnt with extraordinary rapidity and precision. He was 
full of skills and information. The bright clear mosaic of 
impressions was continually being added to and all the 
pieces stayed in their places. He did not feel the need for 
a philosophy or for a faith or for anything to hold them 
together." But this estimate shows how much of Bennett 
Wells missed, how much he was temperamentally in- 
capable of finding out. Bennett, like James and Gals- 
worthy, had a deep feeling for the quality in human 
existence that Yeats was describing when he asked: 

How but in custom and in ceremony 
Are innocence and beauty born.^ 

And yet, when Wells wrote in 1906, "Incidentally, I want 
to make you a Socialist," Bennett could reply with perfect 
sincerity, "You will find it impossible to make me a 
socialist, as I already am one." Wells mistook Bennett's 
breadth of viewpoint for shallowness, as so many others 
have done during and since his time. Bennett's apparent 
preoccupation with "surface values" was not the result of 
an impecunious and drab adolescence for which he was 


eternally trying to compensate. Bennett viewed life very 
coolly and objectively, and his conclusions concerning it 
— that the trappings had, in their own way, as much 
significance as the more immanent aspects — were logic- 
ally defensible and perhaps more "scientific'* in terms of 
human nature than Wells's own conclusions. Bennett 
asks Wells in a letter concerning Kipps: "Why this im- 
mense animus against the *nace' class of person, since we 
are all human together.^ Am I to understand that in your 
opinion as a purposeful observer of life the 'nace' class is 
more ridiculous, or less worthy of sympathy, or less the 
outcome of natural and inevitable causes, than any other 
class?" But after 1905 Bennett did not press his case. 
And the measure of his affection and forebearance is 
Wells's statement, less than six months before Bennett's 
death, "Arnold . . . you are the best friend I've ever had." 

"Bennett — Wells — who else is there .^" Wells wrote 
Bennett in July 1909, a puzzling statement to those who 
have formed their literary tastes since 1930. Of the 
novelists writing in the reign of Edward VII, only Con- 
rad, James, and Forster, all of restricted popularity at the 
time, have retained the substantial respect of critics. But 
in 1909, with The Old IVives^ Tale and Tono- Bungay 
recognized contemporary masterpieces among the dis- 
criminating, Bennett and Wells, both just turned forty, 
were established among the leading novelists of their 


The correspondence between them is a valuable state- 
ment of their literary conviction and practice, especially 
in the years before World War I, before Wells was com- 
pletely absorbed by his dream of the New Republic and 
the Open Conspiracy, and before Bennett became a kind 
of journalistic ambassador of the arts. Wells, after Mr. 
B riding Sees It Through in 191 6, left the "literary" novel 
almost entirely behind him, and although art may be pro- 
paganda, as George Orwell maintains. Wells made most 
of his later novels bear too heavy a load. Bennett, except 
for that strange anomaly, Riceyman Steps^ can probably 
make little claim to permanent literary distinction after 
These Twain in 1916, although some see in Lord Raingo^ 
and even in The Pretty Lady^ a prolongation of power. 

Bennett's position with regard to Wells's literary 
method is in some respects the same as James's and Con- 
rad's. Again and again he pleads with Wells to be more 
careful with details. In Anticipations Bennett notes a 
number of passages displaying a turgidity or "confused- 
ness" that could have been eliminated by careful revision. 
Concerning Mankind in the Making Bennett comments 
even more vehemently and specifically about overloaded 
sentences, badly-arranged words, bad grammar, faulty 
punctuation, inelegancies of one sort or another. Finally, 
in a letter about Kipps, he writes reproachfully, "You 
said last year, you even faithfully promised that you 
were going to write with more care. God-a-mercy! After 
the sentence on p. 409 beginning: 'Next to starting a 


haberdasher's shop/ 1 renounce the crusade. I respectfully 
give you up. Damn it, after all it doesn't matter how you 
write." But Bennett didn't give him up, at least for well 
over a decade. His proof-reading for Wells was un- 
doubtedly motivated by his benevolent desire to impose 
his own passion for meticulousness upon Wells's style. 
Bennett makes one final attempt to persuade Wells to 
better ways. In a letter to Mrs Wells concerning The 
Outline of History he exhorts her to try to do something 
about the mechanics of her husband's composition. He 
writes rather wistfully, "I don't care to seem to be always 
insisting to H. G. about details. I have no exaggerated 
idea of their importance, and I can keep the perspective as 
well as most folks. But these details have importance, and 
someone ought to see to them." As a reward for his 
pains Bennett did the proof-reading, or at least a part of 
it, for the one-volume reprint of The Outline of History. 
Bennett's admonitions had litde, if any, effect on Wells. 
He remained unregenerate to the end. He writes defiantly 
to Bennett, with deliberate misspellings: "The stile of my 
general design, the stile of my thought — C'est moi." His 
justification is best stated in a letter to Bennett in 1904 in 
which he writes, "except among passages of high value I 
don't see the force of writing for beauty of phrase." 
Again, in his autobiography he answers a question from 
Conrad asking him whether a boat "sat or rode or danced 
or quivered on the water?" "I said that in nineteen cases 
out of twenty I would just let the boat be there in the 


commonest phrases possible." Wells's manuscripts of 
his novels are extensively revised in places, but in general 
they bear out his admission that ''the larger part of my 
fiction was written lightly and with a certain haste." Yet 
he was capable, as he claims, of evocative phrase: for in- 
stance, in an episode in Tono-Bungay Beatrice rides on 
horseback directly in the path of George Ponderevo in 
his experimental aircraft. He soars over her by a narrow 
margin, and when he returns after landing: '"Those 
great wings,' she said, and that was all." 

In his own way Bennett was as dedicated to the novel 
as an art-form as was James, at least in his early develop- 
ment. He was profoundly influenced in his serious work 
by George Moore and the French realists and was much 
given to theories of fiction derived from them. This led 
to a strong reaction from Wells and drew from him an 
explicit statement of his own literary theory: "In so far as 
any man's work squares with the standards of any other 
man's work it doesn't count. All fairly good work has 
its excellence in something which is not commensurable 
with anything outside itself. . . . For my own part I am a 
purblind laborious intelligence exploring that cell of 
Being called Wells." Much of the early correspondence is 
concerned with literary method, especially characteriza- 
tion. Wells feels in Bennett's characters little of the vivid- 
ness or credibility of characters like Becky Sharp; he sug- 
gests that Bennett could have heightened the individuality 
of one of the characters in Anna of the Five Towns by 


adding a litde touch of vanity about the shape of his nose. 
Bennett replies that Wells is antediluvian in his con- 
ception of characterization, that instead of Becky Sharp he 
should take as standards Eugenie Grandet, Madame Bo- 
vary or Maisie. ''Have you grasped the fact that what I aim 
at is the expression of general moods, whether of a person 
or a whole scene, a constant synthetising of emotion, 
before the elucidation of minor parts of character?" 

Both men are discerning, candid critics of each other*s 
work. Wells saw very early the flaw in Bennett that was 
to prevent him, except in one or two novels, from attain- 
ing the first rank. Concerning Anna of the Five Towns 
Wells wrote, "Gissing, Moore and the impersonal school 
and a certain consciousness of good intentions are evi- 
dent. . . . My impression [is] that of a photograph a little 
under-developed.'* This "consciousness of good in- 
tentions" is in all Bennett's serious novels; he is so evi- 
dently working for objective, unsentimentalized effects 
that spontaneity and vividness of characterization tend to 
disappear. Few memorable characters emerge from 
Bennett's serious novels. Edwin Clayhanger, Hilda Less- 
ways, Lord Raingo are individualities, it is true, but the 
reader asks with Henry James, "Yes, yes, but is this all}" 
Few characters have been subjected to such objective, de- 
tailed scrutiny, but they lack the appeal of universality; 
they come to mind as case-studies in a sociology text. It is 
this almost universal drabness that has prompted many 
critics to wish that Bennett had transferred some of the 


verve of his "fantasias" and "frolics" to his serious work, 
but such a wish indicates a lack of serious examination of 
even the best of the lighter fiction, which is artistically ir- 
responsible. As Wells comments, "the clever Bennett is 
going to be a fearful job for the artist Bennett to elude." 
One of Bennett's main defects as a novelist is that in most 
of his serious work he seems to stand too much in awe of 
what he is trying to do and never loses the "consciousness 
of good intentions" that Wells warned him against. 

Bennett saw just as clearly Wells's chief liability as a 
novelist. It is starding to read Bennett's charge in 1905: 
"You always recur to a variation of the same type of hero, 
and you always will, because your curiosity about in- 
dividualities won't lead you further . . . Art, really, you 
hate . . . and the mischief is that, though you will un- 
doubtedly do a vast amount of good in the world, you 
will get worse and worse, more and more specialised, 
more and more scornful." Wells's career followed essen- 
tially the line that Bennett foresaw. Very early, in 1902, 
Wells wrote to Bennett, "There is something other than 
either story writing or artistic merit which has emerged 
through the series of my books, something one might re- 
gard as a new system of ideas — 'thought'." His later 
novels subjugate the "story writing or artistic merit" 
more and more to the idea. It is labouring the obvious to 
say that after 191 6 Wells resolutely turned his back upon 
the novel as an art form. His dedication to "ecology" and 
his willingness to use the novel as a vehicle to give his 




social theories wider circulation and more general ac- 
ceptance were in his own mind completely justifiable, and 
it is not in the scope of this introduction to judge the ulti- 
mate wisdom of his decision. Henry James qualifies his 
reservations concerning Marriage with the statement: 
"Mind you that the restriction I may seem to you to lay 
on my view of your work, still leaves that work more con- 
vulsed with life and more brimming with blood than any 
it is given me nowadays to meet." One may be permitted 
regret that the gifts displayed in the early novels should 
have been so deliberately cast aside. 

The differences between Bennett and Wells in their 
literary conviction and practice should not, however, be 
over-emphasized. Essentially those differences are super- 
ficial. It is significant that Wells, in his Experiment in 
Autobiography^ does not classify Bennett with James and 
Conrad as being representative of the purely artistic 
approach. A close examination of their statements about 
each other's work reveals that their objections are con- 
cerned primarily with tone and attitude, not with subject- 
matter or, except in the comparatively superficial sense 
already discussed, method. 

In "Fallow Fields of Fiction," an article published in 
the Academy in 1901, Bennett anticipates Wells's later, 
and much better known, "The Contemporary Novel" of 
1 911. Bennett here deplores the conventional restriction 
of the novel to five major types: the domestic, historical, 
criminal, theological, and bellicose — all centring around 


"two men and a maid.'* He pleads for novels dealing 
with railway organization, local politics, and all other 
aspects of contemporary human activity. In an English 
Review article of 191 3, "The Story Teller's Craft," 
Bennett confesses, "yet I am obliged to say that, as the 
years pass, I attach less and less importance to good 
technique in fiction. I love it, and I have fought for a 
better recognition of its importance in England, but I 
now have to admit that the modern history of fiction will 
not support me." And he warns the writer against 
"Stylites" and "sub-Flauberts" who would try to impose 
artificial restrictions upon fiction. 

Wells urges the same expansion of subject-matter in 
"The Contemporary Novel": "We are going to write 
about it all. We are going to write about business and 
finance and politics and precedence and pretentiousness 
and decorum and indecorum, until a thousand pretences 
and ten thousand impostures shrivel in the cold, clear air of 
our elucidations." Wells discerns two movements in con- 
temporary fiction: a native tendency toward discursive- 
ness and variety, and a tendency, springing largely from 
the French realists, toward exhaustiveness and amplitude. 
He cites as the two best examples of these tendencies The 
Old Wives Tale^ representing the native "discursive" 
movement, and Clayhanger, the foreign "exhaustive" 
movement. And Wells, like Bennett, scorns the "ad- 
judicators" and their attempts to formalize and restrict the 


Henry James, in "The New Novel" (1914), saw clearly 
the close resemblance between the literary practice of Ben- 
nett and Wells. He places both in the new school of "sat- 
uration," although he makes an accurate distinction when 
he designates Wells's method as essentially "extensive" as 
opposed to the "intensive" saturation of Bennett. The 
main contribution of Bennett and Wells, and the Ed- 
wardian novelists in general, to the English novel was 
the broadening and intensification of the treatment of 
subject-matter. Their literary method remains essentially 
Victorian. The leisurely and minute exposition of charac- 
ter, situation, and scene represents no advance over 
Thackeray and Dickens, and it is this quality in the work 
of Bennett, Wells and Galsworthy that excited the ani- 
mosity of Virginia Woolf and makes many of their novels 
such heavy going for most readers today. Wells por- 
trayed in Ann Veronica one of the very first women in 
English fiction frankly to feel sexual desire. The novel 
created a great public protest and gained Wells a host of 
fervent young disciples among both sexes. Bennett in 
The Pretty Lady wrote a novel about a prostitute, which 
was threatened with censorship, and became one of his 
best-selling novels. But today, with such subject-matter 
a commonplace, the reader is hard pressed to find per- 
manent distinction in either book. 

The fact of the matter is that to both men literature in 
the belletristic sense was essentially an avocation. Late in 
his life Bennett wrote; "I have not had a clear and fixed 


ambition. I began to write novels because my friends 
said I could. The same for plays. But I always had a 
strong feeling for journalism, which feeling is as strong as 
ever it was," and Wells revolted against Conrad, Hueffer, 
and James with the statement, *'I am a journalist. .. I re- 
fuse to play the 'artist.' If sometimes I am an artist it is 
a freak of the gods. I am a journalist all the time and what 
I write ^o^j now — and will presently die." 

To understand the prodigious, uneven production of 
Wells and Bennett, one must understand their age. They 
came upon the literary scene at a propitious time for 
young men desiring a career in letters. The Education 
Act of 1870 was just beginning to have its full effect. 
During 1870 the number of new novels published in 
England was 381; during 1900 the number of "juvenile 
works, novels, tales and other fiction" had increased to 
2109. Harmsworth, with the massive circulation of Tit- 
Bits, Answers and the Daily Mail, had demonstrated the 
lucrative market for sensational newspapers; and periodi- 
cals were springing up almost daily. Both Bennett and 
Wells began their careers, not as serious, dedicated 
literary artists, but as contributors to this journalistic 

It was an age, also, of great optimism, almost, in com- 
parison with the 1890's, of ebullience on the part of in- 
tellectuals. The relationship between literary men and 
statesmen is reminiscent of the eighteenth century. John 
Galsworthy and Winston Churchill worked hand in hand 


to institute prison reform, the one through his play, 
Justice^ the other through his position as Home Secre- 
tary. A dinner given by Beatrice and Sidney Webb in- 
cluded Wells, G. B. Shaw and the future Liberal prime 
minister, Asquith. G. K. Chesterton looked back on his 
youth when "A cloud was on the mind of men, and wail- 
ing went the weather,'' and rejoiced that he had lived to see 
"God and the good Republic come riding back in arms." 
Winston Churchill remembers the period as one when 
"statesmen, writers, philosophers, scientists, poets, all 
moved forward in hope and buoyancy, in sure confidence 
that much was well, and that all would be better." 

Both Wells and Bennett, as they gained literary sta- 
ture, became intensely involved in the events and the 
spirit of their time. Wells, through the Fabians, through 
his position, after Anticipations^ as unofficial prophet for 
Western civilization, conceived his principal mission to 
be a manipulator of men and cultures through ideas, and 
scorned "the artist living angrily in a stuffy little corner 
of pure technique." Bennett was never to lose com- 
pletely his dedication to the novel as an art form — it was 
to have a late revival in Riceyman Steps in 1923 — but his 
important government post during the war, the promin- 
ence and influence of his book page in the Evening 
Standard in the twenties, and above all the strong 
hedonistic element in his character that responded so 
avidly to the hedonism that was in many ways one of the 
most salient characteristics of the Edwardian and 


Georgian periods — all these prevented the concentration 
necessary for him to become the novelist he might have 

One of the most appeaHng aspects of the correspond- 
ence between Bennett and Wells is the record it provides 
of the ideas and activities of two literary men completely 
engaged with their world. Even if one feels that this en- 
gagement was at the sacrifice of their literary achieve- 
ment — as the great weight of present critical opinion 
suggests — it still remains refreshing in the face of the 
negativism or passivity of most English and American 
novelists since their time. The reader of the correspond- 
ence finds it particularly fitting that Wells should write in 
the last year of Bennett's life, "What a good friendship it 
has been!'* The two of them moved together from very 
low beginnings to eminence, and they made their way by 
their own talents, by a labour that is beyond the compass 
of most human beings. And through it all they remained 
men of infinite good will. It is doubtful whether we shall 
see their like again. 

Harris Wilson 
University of Illinois 

February^ i960 


6 Victoria Grove^ 
30 September 1897 Chelsea S. JV, 

Dear Sir, 

For a long time I have been intending to write to you, 
and express my appreciation of your work, and also to 
ask what is your connection with Burslem and the 
potteries. Burslem (where I come from) is mentioned at 
the beginning of The Time Machine^ and one of your 
short stories runs over the entire pottery district — I for- 
get the title of it.^ 

1 enclose my review of your last book.* 

Believe me, dear Sir, 
Faithfully yours 
E. A. Bennett 

(editor of Woman) ^ 

^ The home of Frederick Marriott, art master at Goldsmiths* 
College, London, where Bennett had been a paying guest since the 
spring of 1 89 1. The Marriotts and their friends, intellectual and cul- 
tured, were an important influence in Bennett's life. 

2 1895. 

^ "The Cone," first published in Unicorn^ 18 September 1895, 
reprinted as the tenth story in The Planner Story and Others, 1897. 
"The Cone" concerns the vengeance of Horrocks, manager of a 
blast furnace company in the pottery district, upon Raut, an out- 
sider who has formed a liaison widi Horrocks's wife. One night 
Horrocks takes Raut, ostensibly on an inspection tour, to a ramp 
above the furnaces, and pushes him into one of the chimneys. Raut 

c 33 



Heatherlea ^ 

Worcester Park 
[October 1897] Surrey 

Dear Sir, 

Oddly enough I had just overcome a strong impulse to 
write and thank you for your notice in Woman^ when your 
letter arrived. As a reviewer, I learnt long ago the sus- 
picious quality of such gratitude. But now you have 
given me the chance let me thank you very warmly for 
the support you have always given me. 

You raise the point of the transparent eyelids in your 
review,^ but there is another difficulty behind that which 
really makes the whole story impossible. I believe it to be 
insurmountable. Any alteration of the refractive index of 
the eye lenses would make vision impossible. Without 
such alteration the eyes would be visible as glassy 
globules. And for vision it is also necessary that there 

^ Wells and his second wife, Amy Catherine (Jane), had moved 
to Worcester Park from Lynton, Maybury Road, Woking, in late 
1896. ^ See Appendix A, p. 258. 

lives a few agonized moments by clinging to a cone which regulates 
the heat from the furnace, but soon bums to death. 

* The Invisible Man, 1897. 

^ A penny weekly, founded in 1890, addressed to the growing 
audience of women readers. 


should be visual purple behind die retina and an opaque 
cornea and iris. On these lines you would get a very 
effective short story but nothing more. 

About Burslem — I'm not a native. But years ago I 
spent two or three months at Etruria and the district 
made an immense impression on me. I wish I knew the 
people. I felt dimly then and rather less dimly today vast 
possibilities there. Think of Trentham, white Newcastle, 
and that Burslem Hanley ridge josding one another — the 
difference in the lives and "circles of thought" there must 
be! And I've sat in 'Trury woods in the springtime, 
bluebells all about me, and seen overhead the smoke from 
Granville's (I think it's Granville's) Iron Works streaming 
by under the white clouds.^ But I don't know the people 
and "cram" is vile. I shall never do it. 

Yours very faithfully 

H. G. Wells 

^ In the spring of 1888, after more than six months of invalidism 
caused by a crushed kidney and a lung affliction, Wells visited 
William Burton, a college friend, and his wife in their home at 
Etruria. One afternoon toward the end of his visit, as he recalls in 
his Experiment in Autobiography, "I went out by myself to a little 
patch of surviving woodland amidst the industrialized countr}% 
called 'Trury Woods.' There had been a great outbreak of wild 
hyacinths that year and I lay down among them to think. It was 
one of those sun-drenched afternoons that are turgid with vitality. 
Those hyacinths in their upright multitude were braver dian an 
army with banners and more inspiring than trumpets. 

*"I have been dying for nearly two-thirds of a year,' I said, 'and 
I have died enough.' 

"I stopped dying then and there, and in spite of moments of 
some provocation I have never died since." (I, 310.) 




10 October 1897 6 Victoria Grove S,JV, 

My DEAR Sir, 

I am very glad to have your letter, and very glad to find 
that the Potteries made such an impression on you. I 
lived there till I was 21, and have been away from it 9 
years, and only during the last few years have I begun to 
see its possibilities. Particularly this year I have [been] 
deeply impressed by it. It seems to me that there are im- 
mense possibilities in the very romance of manufacture — 
not wonders of machinery and that sort of stuff — but in 
the tremendous altercation with nature that is con- 
tinually going on — and in various other matters. Any- 
how I am trying to shove the notions into my next novel.^ 
Only it wants doing on a Zolaesque scale. I would send 
you a rough sketch of my somewhat vague ideas in this 
direction, but fear to bore you. To my mind it is just 
your field. As for the people, I know 'em inside out, and 
if you are a Northern man you would grasp them in- 

I am quite sure there is an aspect of these industrial 
districts which is really grandiose^ full of dark splendours, 
and which has been absolutely missed by all novelists up 

^ To be published as Anna of the Five Towns in 1902. 


to date. Tirebuck ^ in Miss Grace of All Souls was too 
much interested in his individual characters to note 
synthetically the general aspect, and Nevinson^ in Valley 
of Tophet also let it escape him. 

I trouble you with all this because you are the first man 
I have come across whom the Potteries has impressed, 
emotionally. There are a number of good men in the 
Potteries, but I have never yet met one who could be got 
to see what I saw; they were all inclined to scoff. 

Sincerely yours 

E. A. Bennett 



[December 1897] Worcester Park 

My dear Bennett, 

(If I may leap a gulf in intercourse and drop the 'Dear 
Sir') I have just come upon your last letter again, about 
the Potteries and am moved by your phrase ''altercation 
with nature" to ask if you have discovered the magni- 

^ William Edwards Tirebuck, a Welsh novelist (d. 1900). Miss 
Grace of All Souls, 1895, concerns die rigours of life in a small coal- 
mining town. 

2 Henry Woodd Nevinson (1856-1941). The Valley of Tophet, 
1896, is a collection of twelve short stories of life in a coal-mining 


ficent Conrad yet? If not, read Almayers Folly dind The 
Outcast of the Islands?- It's thick in places and he ham- 
mers in and repeats but it's the palette. 

Yours very faithfully 

H. G. Wells 



8 December 1897 6 Victoria Grove S.IV. 

My dear Wells, 

I owe you a good turn for pointing out Conrad to me. 
I remember I got his first book, Almayers Folly^ to re- 
view with a batch of others from Unwin, and feeling at 
the time rather bored {you know the feeling — I get 
through 50 or 60 novels a month for two papers) I 
simply didn't read it at all — wrote a vague and discreet 
par. and left it. 

I have just read his new book The Nigger of the Nar- 
cissus^^ which has moved me to enthusiasm. Where did 
the man pick up that style, and that synthetic way of 

^ Wells, in the Saturday Review, 16 May 1896, had written: **An 
Outcast of the Islands is perhaps the finest piece of fiction that has 
been published this year, as Almayers Folly was one of the finest 
published in 1895." 

^ Bennett wrote in his Journal, 6 December 1897: "This after- 
noon, reading in New Review ... the conclusion of Joseph Conrad's 
superb book, The Nigger of the Narcissus, I had a mind to go on at 
once with my Staffordshire novel, treating it in the Conrad manner, 
which after all is my own, on a grander scale." (I, 64.) 


gathering up a general impression and flinging it at you? 
Not only his style, but his attitude, affected me deeply. 
He is so consciously an artist. Now Kipling isn't an 
artist a bit. Kipling doesn't know what art is — I mean the 
art of words; il ne se preoccupe que de la chose racontee} He 
is a great writer but not an artist. There are only about 
six artists among our prominent novelists. George 
Moore is one, though he writes, on the surface, damnably. 
But he can see like a poet. I greatly admire George 
Moore. If George Moore had been a South Sea trader and 
had learned grammar etc, he would have treated the sea as 
Conrad has treated it. I dare say this sounds odd, but it is 
profoundly true, and, for me, throws light on both men. 

Some pages of The Nigger are exquisite in the extra- 
ordinary management of colour they display. But Con- 
rad needs to curb his voracity for adjectives. 

Have you ever read de Maupassant's Etude sur Gustave 
Flaubert^ preface to Bouvard et Pecuchet — from which I 
quote above .'^ ^ It is a most illuminating business, and one 
of the best bits of general literary criticism that I know of. 

Sincerely yours 

E. A. Bennett 

^ In Experiment in Autobiography, in his assessment of Bennett 
as man and author, Wells wrote: "That unnecessary scrap of 
French is very Bennett. He was already deliberately heading for 
France and culture, learning French, learning to play the piano, fill- 
ing up the gaps of a commonplace middle-class education with these 
accomplishments — and all with the brightest efficiency." (II, 626.) 

^ (Euvres Completes De Gustave Flaubert, VII, 1885, pp. iii-lxvii. 
The phrase Bennett quotes is from the following paragraph: 



[December 1897] Worcester Park 

My dear Bennett 

Tm glad you like Conrad. There's another swell 
budding. I've just been reading a proof of a book by 
Pugh ^ that's coming out sooner or later. Tony Drums 
the name of it and you look out for it! 

Yours very faithfully 

H. G. Wells 

**Quand un homme, quelque done qiiil soit, ne se preoccupe que de la 
chose racontee, quand il ne se rend pas compte que le veritable pouvoir 
litteraire nest pas dans un faity mais bien dans la maniere de le pre- 
parer, de le presenter et de I'exprimer, il na pas le sens de Van." (p. 

1 Edwin William Pugh (i 874-1930). Tony Drum, 1898, is a 
story of the London slums. 



24 September 1899 9 Fulham Park Gardens^ S,W}- 

My DEAR Wells, 

A year or two ago we exchanged a few letters, and 
since then I have heard nothing from you, though I often 
hear of yon from common friends — Roche, Lewis Hind, 
Eden Phillpotts etc.^ I am writing now because I must — 
to congratulate you on the short stories in the Pall Mall 
Magaiine^ which seem to improve as they go on, and 
which certainly strike me as being fine and in a very 
special sense original work. In this "prophetic" line of 
fiction, I will not say that I know nothing else so strongly 
imagined, but I will say that I know nothing else where 
the imagination is used with such virtuosity in the mani- 

^ Bennett rented a house for three years, 1897 to 1900, at this 

2 Walter Roche, a journalist; C. Lewis Hind (i 862-1927), essay- 
ist and editor of the weekly, the Academy, former editor of the Pall 
Mall Budget i Eden Phillpotts (b. 1 862), a contemporary novelist. 

^ From June to October the Pall Mall Magazine published in 
consecutive monthly issues "A Cure for Love," "The Vacant 
Country," "The Ways of the City," "Underneath," and "The 
Magnanimity of the Man of Pleasure," each one subtitled, "A Story 
of the Days to Come." They were reprinted in Tales of Space and 
Time (1899) as a single story entided "A Story of die Days to 
Come," with the serial titles used as chapter-titles, the last being 
changed to "Bindon Intervenes." 


pulation of material, or where the invention is so fresh, 
adroit and convincing. (And this despite the fact that I 
disagree (ferociously) with your general vision of the 
future of the race. Nor do I think that the changes you 
describe or any changes equally radical could occur in 
that fraction of time called a century.) 

The September and October stories seem to me 
masterly. Do you not consider yourself fortunate, this 
time, in your illustrator.'^ I gathered from a passage in 
The War of the Worlds ^ that you were not exactly en- 
chanted with Warwick Coble's ^ efforts. Still, Goble is 
a very nice chap, with the most serious aspirations. 

Among the 200 odd books that I have pretended to 

^ The passage is as follows: "I recall particularly the illustration 
of one of the first pamphlets to give a consecutive account of the 
war. The artist had evidently made a hasty study of one of the 
Fighting Machines, and there his knowledge ended. He presented 
them as tilted, stiff tripods, without either flexibility or subtlety, 
and with an altogether misleading monotony of effect. The pamph- 
let containing these renderings had a considerable vogue, and I 
mention them here simply to warn the reader against the impression 
they may have created. They were no more like the Martians I saw 
in action than a Dutch doll is like a human being. To my mind, the 
pamphlet would have been much better without them." (1898, p. 

^ Goble provided most of the illustrations for The War of the 
Worlds when it was published serially in Pearsons Magazine, 
April-December 1897. Fifteen of his illustrations were reproduced 
in the American edition of the book in 1898. Wells and his agent 
Pinker had tried to get illustrations in 1896 from Cosmo Rowe, a 
follower of William Morris and later a Fabian and rationalist. Only 
two of his illustrations, however, were used in Pearsons in the first 
instalment; one of these appeared as the frontispiece of the Ameri- 
can edition. 


review this year The Sleeper^ has not found a place. But 
I shall be coming across it sooner or later, and shall ex- 
pect it to be very excellent. If it is on the plane of the 
stories, I can't understand why it is only in its 8th thou- 
sand. (Or rather I can understand.) 

1 have heard of your illnesses in a vague way from time 
to time. I remember one lunch with J. N. Dunn ^ when 
he was awfully depressed about your bodily condition. 
I hope this business is now all over, and that you are able 
to work fair and square, unhandicapped. 

Believe me 

Sincerely yours 

E. A. Bennett 



Arnold House ^ 

25 September 1899 Kent 

My dear Bennett, 

I'm very glad indeed you like the P.M.M. stories and 
I only wish I could tell you The Sleeper was of the same 

^ When the Sleeper Wakes, 1899. 

2 James Nicol Dunn (1856-1919), editor of the Morning Post, 

^ Wells was seriously ill in August 1898, spending a montli con- 
valescing in Kent. He was told, however, that he must live in a 


quality. But it isn't. There's good stuff in it, but it's a 
big confused disintegrating thing. These P.M.M. 
stories derive enormously from Sullivan's ^ illustrations 
— not only the best / have had but the best I have seen to 
anyone's stories for a long time. Coble's a good chap no 
doubt but he made people think my tale was a wearisome 
repetition of ketdes on camera stands. I really don't 
think he put a fair quantity of brain into that enterprise 
or I wouldn't have slanged him in the book. 

It's tremendously kind of you to keep your eye on a 
man who has come into exile as I have. But don't you go 
grieving or permitting good men like Dunn to grieve 
over my bodily condition. The only consequence of my 
last year's convulsions is that I retain only one operative 
kidney and hence various small inconveniences and a re- 
striction on the free violence of my exercises. I have to 
dine with caution and things like that. If none had a 
worse time than I — ! 

Yours very faithfully 

H. G. Wells 

dry climate, on sand or gravel. Expecting to be an invalid, he had a 
house — Spade House — especially designed and built by C. A. F. 
Voysey. Before it was completed in December 1900, the Wellses 
occupied rented quarters in Sandgate. 
^ Edmund J. Sullivan (i 869-1933). 



Arnold House 
15 June 1900 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett, 

I am glad indeed to hear you are ceasing that in- 
congruous association with Woman and coming into the 
country to lead the austerer life and I was glad too that 
you had — with reservations — liked Mr. Lewisham ^ and 
that you prophesy a greater popularity for my poor 
books. But, if I may speak frankly and floridly, why 
have you, — in fact for emphasis — why the Hell have you 
joined the conspiracy to restrict me to one particular 
type of story? I want to write novels and before God I 
W// write novels. They are the proper stuff for my every- 
day work, a methodical careful distillation of one's 
thoughts and sentiments and experiences and impres- 
sions. But that other stuff which you would have me 
doing day by day is no more to be done day by day than 
repartees or lyric poetry. The Imagination moves in a 
mysterious way its wonders to perform. I can assure you 
that I am not doing anything long and weird and strong 
in the vein of The Time Machine and I never intend to. 
I would as soon take hat and stick and start out into the 

^ Love and Mr. Lewisham, June 1900. 


Street to begin a passionate love. If it comes — well and 

I shall look out for Fame and Fiction, I expect I shall 
find there certain articles I have read with very keen in- 
terest in the Academy} I was at Rye the other day and 
James who has a fastidious palate for that sort of thing 
was commending one of them very highly, the one in 
which you pointed out the almost entire suppression of 
real sexual passion (as distinguished from the conven- 
tional process) in popular fiction, from the Family 
Herald upward. 

Yours very faithfully 

H. G. Wells 



5 July 1900 Arnold House 

It's got to be the 14th Sandgate 

since I dated this. 

My dear Bennett 

I was very glad indeed to get your letter, and to find 

things are less at variance between us than I had supposed. 

But as for the Balzac theory no! — I don't hold with you 

^ These articles were later to appear in book form as Fame and 
Fiction, an Inquiry into Certain Popularities, 1901. The article re- 
ferred to here is apparently "The Fiction of Popular Magazines," 
The Academy, 24 February 1900. 


any more than I do with Garnett^ and the Turgenev 
theory or with the damned old art critics and the Michael- 
Angelo-Raphael theory. In so far as any man's work 
squares with the standards of any other man's work it 
doesn't count. All fairly good work has its excellence 
in something which is not commensurable with anything 
outside itself. You not only cannot but you must not 
attempt to make a criticism by instituting comparisons 
or prescribing canons. No it is not "Balzac first and the 
rest nowhere." Balzac is an Egyptian temple and damned 
dark and stuffy in places to Turgenev's Corinthian 
capitals, Dickens is a barn with astonishing gargoyles 
and the English novel like the Gothic cathedral is too 
big a thing for a complete specimen ever to get itself done. 
For my own part I am a purblind laborious intelligence 
exploring that cell of Being called Wells and I resent your 
Balzac. But this sort of thing is more fitted for con- 
versation than writing. I hope soon we may have some 
chance of an argey bargey. Until when Believe me 

Yours ever H. G. Wells 
I say — if it's not offensive — what wdiS your Mr. Lewisham 
called.^ 2 I can't find out and I want to read it. 

^ Edward Garnett (1868-1937), the critic, whose main occupa- 
tion, as a reader for T. Fisher Unwin (and later for other publishers), 
was the discovery and encouragement of unknown writers. David 
Garnett, Edward's son, writes: "Indeed it was inconceivable to 
Edward that he might be completely mistaken in a literary judg- 
ment." {The Golden Echo^ London, 1953, p. 4.) 

^ Wells is referring to Bennett's A Man from the North, 1898. 




Arnold House 
30 Jtdy 1900 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett, 

My wife and I have read A Man from the North with 
the very keenest interest and we are both struck by the 
curious parallelism (in spite of their entire independence 
and authenticity) of the two books.^ Your approach and 
line of thought are clearly rather more towards Gissing 
than are mine, and I am reminded by that, that Gissing 
some years ago when I was telling him the idea of Lewi- 
sham told me that he also had contemplated the same 
story. His title was to have been The Common Lot, and 
there you have as compactly as possible a certain differ- 
ence in the point of view. 

Do you ever do week-end raids out of London.'^ If 
so, would you care to week-end here the third week- 
end in August (or later if that is engaged)? You can 
bathe from our garden-end and there are amusing and 
pleasant walks of from two miles to twenty — at our con- 

^ In both A Man from the North and Love and Mr. Lewisham the 
protagonist is drawn away from his dedicated career as, respec- 
tively, writer and scientist by romantic passion. 


venience. There are also bands and promenades if that 
is your game. 

Yours very faithfully 

H. G. Wells 


2 August 1900 9 Fulham Park Gardens^ S,W, 

My dear Wells, 

I should like immensely to come down and have a day 
or so with you. I oughtn't to, but I think I will. I think 
I could come on Saturday i8th (if this is the week-end 
you mean) strictly for the week-end. I am extended just 
now over a Tillotson serial.^ I have been *laid aside* for a 
month with an abscess, and am already late with de- 
livery, but the benevolent syndicate has granted me an 
extension of 6 weeks, bless it. 

I write this letter from Burslem, whence I depart to- 
night, and where I have been observing the effect of the 
Wesleyan Methodist Conference on the community. I 
came down specially to observe the same, and have been 
well rewarded. The public examination of candidates for 
ordination, the other night at Longton, was one of the 

^ Lever Tillotson, a representative of the Bolton syndicate, which 
bought serials and short stories for sale to provincial papers and 
smaller weeklies. The serial referred to here is probably The Grand 
Babylon Hotel, published in book form in 1902. 


most genuinely interesting things that I have ever 

It is enough for me that you and Mrs Wells were in- 
terested in Man from the North, There is much in it that 
is not authentic, merely fanciful, and quasi-sentimental — 
I can see now. But I seriously meant all of it at the time. 
It was the first work I did, and before I had finished it the 
technique thereof had advanced so much that I had to go 
back and write the first half again. So you may guess 
what it was to start with! 

Well, I shall look forward to seeing you; and thanks 
very much for what in this district the elite call the 
*invite'. Sincerely yours 

E. A. Bennett 


21 August 1900 9 Fulham Park Gardens 

My dear Wells, 

I am sure you will be relieved to hear that the bag and I 
caught that train. It was a great relief to me. The darned 
procession of vehicles was only 35 minutes late at 
Charing Cross — very good for the S.E.R. Excuse these 
facile sneers at the expense of your railway. 

I have written 3,900 words today, played sundry piano 

^ This visit was to provide the detail for Bennett's treatment of 
Wesleyan Methodism throughout Anna of the Five Towns ^ 1902, 


duets, and spent 3 hours at the office. By the way, I think 
that Crimson IVeed^ is 'not bad*. Such is my deUberate 
and elaborate view. 

You and Mrs. Wells have done me a great deal of good 
— and incidentally disgusted me afresh with serials. I am 
in debt to you. Preoccupation with trains prevented me 
from being even decently civil to you when I parted from 
you yesterday, but perhaps you may be aware that I 
meant sundry unsaid things. 

When I have got Dunstable ^ into order, will you and 
Mrs. Wells come and survey my acres and drive those 
horses that I am going to buy, and oscillate between those 
apple trees .^ Anyhow I shall ask you, and if you don't 
there will be one feud the more in the literary world. I 
didn't mention to you that my sister and housewife is a 
literary cuss — writes, you know, books — and knows 
how to soothe the literary temperament in hours of 
domesticity. This by way of an inducement. I will let 
you know about S. Bowkett ^ in due course. 

With kindest regards to Mrs. Wells and the author of 
the biology book.^ Yours 

P.S. This isn't my own pen. E. A. B. 

^ A novel by Christopher St John, published in July 1900. 

2 After his resignation from Woman, 5 June 1900, Bennett settled 
near Dunstable, Bedfordshire, at Trinity Hall Farm, Hockliffe, with 
his father and mother and his sister, Tertia. The chief reason for 
the move was the beginning of his father's last illness. 

^ Sidney Bowkett, a childhood friend of Wells, at this time a 
playwright. He was the original of Chitterlow in Kipps. 

* A reference to Wells's Text- Book of Biology, 1893. 




Arnold House 
I September 1900 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

What will you give us if we don't send you your 
photograph? ^ We haven't printed it yet but the negative 
looks good for a fiver to me. 

Yours ever 

H. G. Wells 
Anyhow they ain't "pretty." 



Arnold House 
19 October 1900 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

I have nothing to say but as a literary man I see no 
reason in that why I should not write. The Missus and 

^ Wells was an enthusiastic photographer at this time. In a letter 
of 13 December 1899 J. B. Pinker, Wells's literary agent, wrote to 
him, "I hope you won't get influenza as it would interrupt your 
photography." The photograph of Bennett referred to in Wells's 
letter is very probably the one reproduced as the frontispiece of 
this volume. 


me are doing well and we hope you are the same. They 
are putting in our casements. Lord Jim is out and that 
reminds me that Christopher St. John is not Conrad's 
"Sinjohn" but another.^ 

God bless and keep you 
is ever the Prayer 
of yours ever 

H. G. Wells 



Spade House 
[Postmark 8 Decemher 1900] Sandgate 

Got there at last! No carpets no dining room table or 
chairs, litde food but still — therel 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ John Sinjohn was the pseudonym used by John Galsworthy in 
his first two novels, Jocelyn, 1898, and Villa Rubein, 1900, and two 
books of short stories, From the Four IVinJs, 1 897, and A Man of 
Devon, 1901. Galsworthy and Conrad had met in 1893 when Gals- 
worthy was a passenger on an English ship of which Conrad was 
first mate. Conrad was a sympathetic critic of Galsworthy's early 




Spade House 
I June 1 90 1 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

It is a pity you will keep up this foolishness about 
Dickens, but time and reflection may temper you and lead 
to something nearer wisdom. Gissing who is here and I 
am afraid very gravely ill at last ^ tells me he has nothing 
to add to his Charles Dickens which if you haven't read 
you ought to read (pub. by Blackie). And my dear man, 
if you possibly can get your hands on it, read By the 
Ionian Sea just published by Chapman & Hall. I would 
be glad indeed if for once Gissing could have a shout. 
This book deserves it mightily and if it does not get it — 
Gissing may perhaps never hear a shout. ''Verhum sap' 
I believe is the sort of thing one says at this point. 

1 shall be glad indeed to read that serious novel ^ and I 

shall look for that series of articles.^ There is a coolness 

between myself and Hind ^ quite outside literary matters 

^ On 25 June 1901 Gissing wrote to Mrs Wells from a tuber- 
culosis sanatorium. 

2 Anna of the Five Towns ^ 1902. 

^ "The Fallow Fields of Fiction," by Bennett, appeared in three 
parts in the Academy^ 15 June, 29 June, 20 July 1901. 
* See note 2, p. 41. 


and I am sorry to find it affects criticism. I'll read Re- 
surrection ^ — I want something to read. In this matter of 
Visiting — Visiting and receiving are alike 'off' for us just 
now for Mrs. Wells and I have been collaborating (and 
publication is expected early in July) in the invention of 
a human being.^ 

The Lord bless and keep you and lighten your black 
bad Dickensless mind. Yours ever 

H. G. 



Trinity Hall Farm 

3 June 1 90 1 Bedfordshire 

My dear Wells, 

You and Mrs. Wells have my best wishes for the future. 

I am sorry to hear of Gissing's illness. I was in town last 

week, and could have arranged to review his two books 

then, but never thought of it. Hind gives me everything 

I ask for provided early birds like Lucas ^ haven't stepped 

in beforehand and skimmed the cream off the week's 

milk. Living out here, I am somewhat at a disadvantage 

^ By Tolstoy, published in England in 1900. 
2 The Wellses' first son, George Philip, was bom in July 1901. 
^ E. V. Lucas (1868-1938), at this time a member of the staff of 
the Academy, 


in that respect. But I am sending to Hind to tell him 
Gissing is on my mind. There is a rhapsodic essay on 
him (Gissing — not Hind) in my new book.^ Truly I 
don't think that Hind's personal relations with you have 
affected criticism. When he choked me off you, he had 
recently done or caused to be done a screed on you "as 
prophet." 2 and I remember thinking at the time he was 
editorially right in declining an "enquiry" into you at 
that moment. To err is human and Hind takes full ad- 
vantage of his humanity — even to allowing himself to 
be imposed upon by that literary fraud, Charles Mar- 
riott, author of The Column,^ — but I have found him 
singularly and rather finely careless of anything except 
(what he considers) literary justice. Such is my testi- 

I perceive you couldn't keep your new house out of the 
Fortnightlyl This third article is the best yet.^ I have 
never seen so good an illustration of the scientific use of 

Touching Gissing, do you think he will ever get a real 
"shout" .'^ I think not. What matter .-^ The consciousness 

'^ Fame and Fiction. 

* "A Novelist of the Unknown" (unsigned), the Academy, 23 
June 1900. 

^ Published in 190 1. The Column is a highly symbolic novel, laid 
in Cornwall, where the heroine's father has set up a Doric column, 
which becomes the symbol of his daughter's cult of nature and the 

* Part III oi Anticipations in the i June 190 1 issue of the Fort- 
nightly Review, 


of the man who has written Demos must be a fairly satis- 
factory possession. Show him the enclosed if you care to.^ 
Or rip it up; it is a spare proof. I don't know whether 
vanity or a desire to give him a small satisfaction makes 
me send it. 

My kindest regards to your wife, 
E. A. B. 



Trinity Hall Farm 
22 July 1 90 1 Hockliffe 

My DEAR Wells, 

Appropos of a par. in the Chronicle^ my hearty con- 
gratulations to you and Mrs. Wells.^ I hope things still 
go quite well. 

Your sincerely 

E. A. Bennett 

^ The essay referred to earlier in the letter. 
2 On the birth of their first child. 




Spade House 
19 August 1 90 1 Sandgate 


My dear Bennett. 

I really don*t see why you should have your book^ 
sent to me unless it is to draw my attention to the fact 
that so far as you are concerned I don't exist. After all we 
exist to be ourselves and it would be a mere affectation for 
me to pretend to take an impersonal interest in a book 
which professes to be a review of the state of contem- 
porary fiction. With the people in an omnibus it would 
be convenient to pretend I didn't care a damn for my 
public reputation and acceptance but it would be silly 
not to admit to you that these things are primary things 
in my life. I take your book therefore at first at any rate 
as a landscape in which I ought to figure, and I dont 
figure! 2 It is written altogether without reference to me. 
And so far as that goes it seems to me rather unintelligent 
and commonplace. I am an absolutely unique figure in 

^ Fame and Fiction, 1901. 

^ Bennett deals largely with extremely popular novelists like Miss 
Braddon, J. M. Barrie, and Rhoda Broughton. He devotes the last 
three chapters, however, to Gissing, Turgenev, and George Moore 


contemporary literature, I am relevant to the criticism of 
prose writing and prose reading in more directions than 
any other man who writes and to keep me out of the 
picture is simply to show that you have the sort of mind 
that cannot take in a new thing until someone else has 
put it to you. For example you are all wrong about 
the Fiction of the Popular Magazines on account of your 
failure to grasp me. The Strand Magaiine pays £,i'2.') for 
a short story by me and Pearsons £153 thousand for The 
Sea Lady ^ and Ray Lankester ^ will tell you Tve never 
jarred on the exacting sensibilities of a critical scientific 
mind. This has nothing to do with art, but it smashes 
your article and it shows a want of knowledge even of 
that low sort that deals with material facts. That par- 
ticular issue however is a minor one. It is the last three 
chapters that get at me most intimately, that make me — 
in view of the fact that you will probably go on writing 
and influencing opinion through all the years of my de- 
velopment — lift up my clenched hands and say, "Oh 
damn this Bennett!'* There is a blindness to certain 
qualities that puts you, so far as they are concerned, out- 
side the elect, a tone deafness. You so manifestly are not 

^ The Sea Lady was serialized in Pearsons Magaiine, July- 
December 1 90 1. 

2 Edwin Ray Lankester (i 847-1929), at this time Director of 
Natural History Departments and Keeper of Zoology, British 
Museum. He was soon to be recognized as an authority on zoology, 
and was knighted in 1907. He was also to be a consultant to Wells 
in the writing of The Outline of History. 


Up to Turgenev any more than you are up to Dickens or 
Love and Mr. Lewisham. You have been told about 
Turgenev. You talk about his temperament and his 
artistry, but you know you don't see the beauty he 
sought and gained any more than you get that indefinable 
quality of the point of view, that humour, that makes 
Dickens, for all his crimes, so dear to us in places. 
(Consequendy you will always miss me in my novels, as I 
do them). Does it not occur to you that when you and 
Garnett solemnly set aside Turgenev's own preference 
among his books, you may after all do no more than in- 
dicate your personal quality.^ And because you miss 
there subtle elements and aim to achieve criticism by pure 
intelligence, you overrate the gawky crowded exploits of 
Balzac and Gissing and of such merely ambitious per- 
sistent intelligent persons as George Moore. Well, well. 
For me you are part of the Great Public, I perceive. I am 
doomed to write ^scientific' romances and short stories 
for you creatures of the mob, and my novels must be my 
private dissipation. "Damn this Bennett!" I say, with all 
my heart, and am, my dear Bennett, 

Yours ever 

H. G. Wells 




Trinity Hall Farm 
16 October 1901 Hockliffe 

My dear Wells, 

I sent you my "bright** and amusing book as a return 
— feeble, but the best I could do — for the copy of Love 
and Mr. Lewisham which you caused to be sent to me. I 
hesitated seven days and seven nights before sending it. 
I kept saying to myself: "Now will the incurable and 
amazing modesty of this great man prevent him from 
guessing the true reason why I have left him out of this 
my book?*' (which however does not pretend to be a 
"review of the state of contemporary fiction.*') I at last 
resolved to send it and hope for the best. Alas! The 
worst has happened. You will have to see a doctor about 
that modesty of yours. Can you not perceive that I left 
you out 

a. Because I felt incompetent to assess you. 

b. Because nothing less than a whole book could con- 
tain you. 

c. Because your popularity needs no explaining, being 
the obvious reward of merit. 

d. Because it was my ambition, after 25 years of study. 


meditation and prayer, to attempt an elaborate 
monograph on you, and let this be the climax of my 

You did perceive these reasons, revered friend. But 
again your modesty, by a curious intensification of itself, 
refused to let you admit them. 

Your views about my views of Gissing, Moore, and 
Turgenev, leave me cold, having regard to your own 
article on Gissing in the Fortnightly^ and to the fact, 
universally recognized by press and public, that on 
Moore and Turgenev I am the first and only authority 
in this country. Nobody else knows anything about these 
two writers except me, and when I ope my lips I expect 
a hushed nation to listen and acclaim. Still, in the future, 
I shall probably surpass evenmyself on these writers. 

*So on my heels a fresh perfection tread,' as Keats said, 
evidently with me in mind. 

1 note lately the evidence of an extraordinary activity 

on your part. Perhaps you have observed how difficult 

it is to pick up a decent magazine without You in it. I 

look in the Fortnightly and the Strand in order to run 

even with you. And now damned if you haven't let me 

in for Pearson s\ And I hear rumour of a "Dream of 

Armageddon" in something else.^ You make your 

^ Bennett is apparently referring to Wells's "The Novels of 
George Gissing," the Contemporary Review, August 1897. Search 
has failed to reveal an article by Wells on Gissing in the Fortnightly 

2 Black and White. 


readers work. What I hunger for is the successor to 
Z. and Mr, L, I will make a meal off that, I promise you. 
I will rend it to pieces, (and remember that I am not pre- 
cisely Lieut. Col. Eustace Balfour) ^ for sternness is the 
highest compliment one can pay to that work which its 
author regards most seriously. (Dr. Johnson.) 

My kindest regards to your wife, and I trust you all 

Yours in all art and culture 

E. A. Bennett 

^ In the December 1900 issue of the Fortnightly Review an article 
by Wells, "The Cyclist Soldier," attacked the Cyclist Drill oi 1900, 
a government pamphlet concerning the military use of bicycles. Lt. 
Col. Eustace Balfour, the "not very athletic senior" of Wells's 
article and one of the authors of the Cyclist Drill, took violent ex- 
ception to Wells's charges in "Military Cycling, after Mr. Wells" 
in the February 1901 issue of the Fortnightly. Wells, however, 
apparently had the last word in a letter, "The Soldier Cyclist," 
which appeared in the March issue of the magazine, although he 
complained in a letter of 6 February 1901 to J. B. Pinker that the 
editors should have printed his reply to Balfour as an article instead 
of relegating it to the correspondence section. "Damn the Empire 
of bloody idiots! As you know I don't want pay, I don't even want 
credit in the matter, I simply want to ventilate a dangerously stuffy 




Spade House 
17 October 1901 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

I hope you are serious when you speak of my great- 
ness, because it is a very serious matter to me. Naturally 
you don't understand that aspect of the Question, except 
by hearsay. Owever 

Tm really not producing violently but several things 
have come out this year that have been hanging about. 
Via toot! Mainly just now Tm meditating on a some- 
thing which is really this time to get me all together and 
reconcile all my aspects — something in the form of a 
lax extravaganza of the Rabelais type (you understand I 
don't mean indecency by the name of J. F. R.) superposed 
on interlocutors such as one gets in Tristram Shandy — 
discourses and Peacockian dialogue — an effect of looking 
into a room in which a number of human beings behave 
and talk, with someone like Father Shandy giving a lan- 
tern entertainment with comments.^ Do you see it at all.^ 

Yours ever, 

H. G. 

^ This letter very probably represents Wells's earliest notion of 
the form of Boon. The first dated section of manuscript of Boon 
was written on i July 1905, although the book was not published 
until 191 5. 




Spade House 
[21 November 1901] Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

My modesty forces me to send you Die Zeit with an 
article by one Graz ^ that seems really to display some 
inkling of my real greatness. I am much gratified thereby. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



Trinity Hall Farm 
23 November 1901 Hockliffe 

My dear Wells, 

Neither of your books has come my way, reviewing. 
For one thing Hind always keeps these plums for him- 
self, and my ladies' paper is not interested in publicism. 
I have read The First Men in the Moon in Strand^ and 

1 Fr. Graz, "H. G. Wells," Die Zeit (Wien), No. 364. 

^ The First Men in the Moon, the Strand Magazine , December 
1900 to August 1 90 1. Bennett indicates the title by a sketch of 
three small men in a new moon. 


hasten to insult and annoy you by stating that the last 
two instalments are among the very best things you have 
done. I have read Anticipations in Fortnightly ^ and hasten 
to say that I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the 
breadth and the sheer intellectual vigour of them, not 
to mention the imaginative power. These articles really 
have made me a little afraid of you. Either you have in a 
supreme degree the journalistic trick of seeming omni- 
science, or you are one of the most remarkable men alive. 
And I say this plainly, without any undercurrent of fun. 
The only fault that I have found with these articles is that 
occasionally there appeared to be a certain turgidity, or 
confusedness, which struck one as though it might have 
been avoided either by greater length of explanation, or 
by severe re-writing. It was as though you had tumbled 
some of the stuff out of a flowing bowl, like Dumas. I 
gather from a review that the conclusion of the book has 
not been printed in the Fortnightly — and this the most 
interesting part of the book. For this reason I should like 
the book. I had meant to buy it (sinning against my 
principle of never buying new books), but if I can get 
it for nothing I can put the price into the missionary 

With my London-Matric knowledge of German I have 
struggled through the appreciation of you in Die Zeit. I 
see the writer lights on most of the things that I have 
singled out for you. 

Have you read the first Realistic Scotch Novel — The 


House with the Green Shutters} ^ It is not first-class, but 
it is glorious after Barrie, Maclaren, Crockett and Co.^ 
You see Scotland in it for the first time in your life. 

E. A. B. 



Spade House 
25 November 1901 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

1 am glad to tell you your modest surmise is correct. 
There is no illusion. I am great. And the detached read- 
ing of Anticipations gives you no inkling of the massive 
culminating effect of the book as a whole. I am asking 
C & H to send you a copy,^ but the mean suspicion of 
publishers that authors use their numerous presentation 
copies as personal gifts may stand in the way. In which 

^ By George Douglas, pseudonym of G. D. Brown (i 869-1902). 
Published in 1901. 

2 Ian Maclaren, pseudonym of John Watson, 1850-1907 {Beside 
the Bonnie Brier Bush, 1894), and Samuel Rutherford Crockett, 
1860-19 14 (The Stickit Minister, 1893), both, along with Barrie, 
sentimental novelists of humble Scottish life. Wells had expressed 
his bitter contempt for the Kailyard School when he was reviewing 
fiction for the Saturday Review, 1 895-1 897. 

^ Anticipations ran serially in the Fortnightly Review, April- 
December 1 90 1. It was published in book form by Chapman & 
Hall in November 1901. 


case I will honestly get the book and send it you myself. 
I want you to read it very much and^ if it takes you, to do 
something to propagate my gospel. I believe quite simply 
that a real first class boom and uproar and discussion 
about this book will do an infinite amount of good in the 
country and to you at least there is no need to put my 
belief in breeches. I think I am safe to get most of the 
comfortable educated London public, but I dream of get- 
ting it read by parsons and country doctors and all that 
sort and going much wider than my publishers dream. 
I think there are a multitude of interesting quotes to be 
dug out of the book, about home conveniencies, the 
status of unmarried girls, cooking in the future, building, 
dress etc, that ought to [be] ground-bait for the big public 
even — the Corellian public. (Some of the more denunci- 
atory passages by the bye, when I read them over again 
strike me as singularly like Marie.) I think you are right 
about that turgidity in places — but the thing has been a 
hell of a handful to manage. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




Spade House 
26 November 1901 ^ , 

^ Sandgate 

My dear Bennett 

Could you do a week end (or mid week if it suits you 
better) here soon. iVe been hoping to persuade you to 
come down for some time and something has arisen that 
might enable you to be of very great service to the Con- 
rads — without any inconvenience to yourself. What of 
Saturday week? Saturday to Monday next the room's 

took but any other time . Yours ever 

H. G. 



r ^ 7 T Spade House 

yDecember 1901J ^ 

My dear Bennett. ^^ ^^ ^ 

Have you read "Amy Foster" in Illustrated London 

News}^ If not I'll lend you Conrad's copies. Very 

interesting. Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ "Amy Foster," a short story by Joseph Conrad, appeared 
serially in the 14, 21, and 28 December 1901 issues of the Illustrated 
London News, 




Trinity Hall Farm 
13 December 1901 Hockliffe 

My dear Wells, 

That fat bus driver prefers the interior of your house 
to the exterior, and the inhabitants thereof to either. He 
kept on saying, when the talk flagged, that no one would 
expect such a nice inside — to look at the outside. I ex- 
plained to him that that particular sort of house was 
quite the fashion just now, and might be observed in 
large numbers up and down Surrey. But that didn't seem 
to make him like it any better. His final conclusion was, 
damn the house, but if folks in general was a bit more like 
you and Mrs, folks in general would be a lot better 

Following your advice yesterday I did no work be- 
cause I didn't feel inclined to. This is bad for me, and I 
must request you not to offer such advice in future. 

That detective play ought to be called simply The 
Crime?- Chapman Hall haven't sent Uncle' s-dissipations^ 
yet. I can see I shall have to buy that book in order to do 

^ A projected play to be written in collaboration by Bennett and 
Wells, eventually entitled The Crime. It was never completed. 

2 Anticipations. "Uncle" was a humorous appellation Bennett 
and Wells occasionally applied to each otlier. 


it any good, and after all, that is rather a neat way of 
doing a book good. I had a letter from Phillpotts yester- 
day, in which he enthuses over the book (and his re- 
stricted literary sympathies do not urge him to read much 
of your work); it is the final chapters which impress him. 
He is very great on Malthus and the annihilation of the 
unfit and all that sort of thing. But the point is that your 
book has caught hold of him; "gripped him by the belly", 
as Stead ^ told Carlyle God had gripped the liver of 

Don't forget to tell Pinker about the undersigned. ^ 
Your company has jerked my brain into a state of un- 
holy activity. With best respects to Mrs. H. G. 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 

^ William Thomas Stead (1849-1912), editor of the Review of 
Reviews. Stead was a journalist crusader with such books as 
Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, 1885, and If Christ Came to 
Chicago, 1893. At one time Stead was editor of the Northern Echo, 
which was published at Darlington in Durham. 

^ In a letter dated 12 December 1901 Pmker thanks Wells for 
"sending Bennett along. I think I can do something for him." 
Pinker was to serve as Bennett's literary agent until his (Pinker's) 
death in 1922. 



8 February 1902 

My dear E.A.B. 

1 want very much to come and gossip at Hockliffe but 
not with an article of this sort in the air.^ I find this atten- 
tion to myself is getting at my peace of mind, making my 
egotism large and tender and generally doing me no 
good. I want to shut off that sort of thing. I've had a 
good pushful two months. Suppose you do the article 
and get it off first and then let me come and talk of decent 
things. What Walker ^ wants is pretty plain and simple. 

^ Bennett had contracted to do an article on Wells for the Cosmo- 
politan Magazine, meant, according to a letter from Pinker to Wells, 
12 February 1902, "to prepare the way." The entire article is re- 
printed in Appendix B, p. 260. It was the first competent and con- 
scientious critical appraisal of Wells's work. Wells had for some 
years been concerned with the failure of the American public to 
discern the serious and meaningful element in his writing. When 
Anticipations was being offered, he wrote to Pinker in January 1901, 
"Instead of trying to impress these blasted Americans with the idea 
that I'm something smart and snappy, why don't you insist upon 
my literary position, my translations in particular and my standing 
abroad.'* . . . Don't you understand the whole thing will mean 

2 John Brisben Walker, a representative of the Cosmopolitan 
Magazine. On 6 November 1901 Wells signed a memorandum of 
agreement witli Walker granting Cosmopolitan the American rights 
on "any work in tlie nature of a story or novel and having a lengdi 


Instead of wanting me to advertise myself like bloody- 
asses like Chapman & Hall do, he wants to advertise me. 
I suppose he's going to run this article wide and extensive 
to clear the road for the stuff which is to follow in the line 
of Anticipations, At present no decent article on me, no 
decent criticism (not a column of reviewing even) has 
ever appeared about me in America. The great American 
public has for the most part never heard of me. Para- 
graphs circulate to the effect that I was a '*dry goods 
clerk" and I class with George Griffith ^ as a purveyor of 
wild ^^pseudo* scientific extravaganza. The reviewer of 
books in America — he appears to get printed in among 
the dentifrice advertisements — like the very lowest class 
reviewer in this country says with an airy confidence that 
I "outrage every probability of science" and things like 
that. "English Jules Verne" is my utmost glory. You 
are not dealing with an intelligent public which finds me 
interesting and wants me solidly placed, you are dealing 
with gross, stupid ignorance and what you say — since 

you will say it well — will pitch the key of criticism for 
the next year at any rate. Td be grateful if you'd remem- 
ber that. Stupid praise at this juncture would do me vast 

greater than ten thousand words which the said H. G. Wells may 
complete and have ready for serial publication after tlie date of this 
agreement until the end of the year 1902." 

^ George Chetwynd Griffith (d. 1906), a sensational novelist, 
who wrote such novels as A Honeymoon in Space, 1901, and The 
World Masters, 1903. 


harm, insincere advertisement exaggeration of what I am. 
But I do honestly regard myself as a First Class Man, one 
of the first hundred writing in English now — I believe 
you do — and there's a certain full dress and high class 
way of writing of a man which Walker wants and I think 
the situation wants. You'll do the particular thing much 
better if you don't discuss it with me. There's a dozen 
things I can imagine usefully said and that I think you'd 
be willing to say, but whether you get them into this 
article or not depends entirely on the line you take in 
writing. They'd be better left out than stuck in. There's 
a quality in the worst of my so-called "pseudo-scientific" 
— (imbecile adjective) stuff* that the American doesn't 
master which diff*erentiates it from Jules Verne, e.g. just 
as Swift is differentiated from fantasia — isn't there .'^ 
There is something other than either story writing or 
artistic merit which has emerged through the series of 
my books, something one might regard as a new system 
of ideas — "thought". It's in Anticipations especially Ch 
IX and it's in my Royal Institution Lecture ^ and it's also 
in The First Men in the Moon and The Invisible Man and 
Chaffery's chapter in Love and Mr, L? That's as much as 
I can say to you in this matter if we talked all day. If so 

^ "The Discovery of the Future," delivered 24 January 1902, and 
published in February 1902. 

^ Love and Mr. Lewisham, chapter 23. In these references one 
can find the early development of Wells's idea of a natural aristo- 
cracy of talent and intellect, which he later expressed in the Samurai, 
the New Republic, and the Open Conspiracy. 


be there is a chance of a casual allusion to Huxley who 
was my professor at the Royal Coll. of Science or to the 
R. Institution or to my first class honours B.Sc. Lond. or 
to my translated editions in French, German, Italian, 
Spanish, Norwegian, Hungarian, Czech and Danish, 
there's no need to be secretive. You are dealing with a 
damned ignorant snobbish public and the "dry goods 
clerk" legend may just as well be mitigated as not. But if 
anything of that sort does come in, keep it in a corner. 

To you Bennett I display the final confidence of 
shamelessness. It is nicer to write and dispatch this sort 
of thing than talk about it. You go and write your article 
and pack it off and we'll talk about that play and God and 
various things. I have an idea for a new sort of domestic 
drama — you see! 

Also you are damned mean about presentation copies 
of The Grand Babylon Hotel^ 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^Published January 1902. 



Spade House 
14 February 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

I think Tve got something that will make 

the Dramatic Sensation 

of 1903.^ I want to tell you about it. Can you come 
down for a night sometime before next Thursday? 

Yours ever 

H. G. 


\In Mrs Wells s handwriting] And can you let us know 
Mr. Whitton's (Whitten.'^) ^ spelling of his name and 

A. C. W. 

^ The Crime. 

2 Wilfred Whitten, editor of T.P.'s Weekly, for which Bennett 
was later to do an extended series of articles. Whitten was a col- 
league of Bennett on the Academy. 




Spade House 
22 February 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett, 

I don't altogether jump at The Crime, It's dissipation. 
Still if you do quite clearly mean to do all the work and 
let me come in "without hindrance to present occupa- 
tion" it's tempting — wife and child — boots very old now 
— trousers so thin in seat as to give rise to chills — aged 
mother in the workhouse — mortgage on my bicycle — 
garden roller in pawn. 

You get a commission for it and I'll give you seven clear 
days of honest collaboration. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




Trinity Hall Farm 
24 February 1902 Hockcliffe 

My dear Wells, 


I have communicated with both Harrison and Froh- 
man's ^ man, and can get a double commission for this 
play (England and America) upon producing a scenario 
which contains nothing that the managerial mind con- 
siders too startling. In a few days I shall produce that 
scenario, and as I shall be in London next week (toward 
the end) I think I should run down and submit it to you 
first. I shan't want you to put me up. You might, if con- 
venient, give me half a day out of the allotted seven. 
7 — J = 6 J. I could write the piece by myself in 7 days. 

Harrison has invited me to adapt an old English 
comedy for the Hay market and terms are now arranged. 

E. A. B. 

1 Frederick Harrison (d. 1926), co-manager, with Cyril Maude, 
of the Haymarket Theatre, 1896-1905. Charles Frohman was an 
American theatrical producer. 




Trinity Hall Farm 
26 March 1902 Hockliffe 

My dear H. G. 

Despite its opening phrase, the Debdts article might 
have been much worse than it is. There is some pretty 
wit in it. I had always looked on Filon ^ as rather a bore. 
Somewhat depressed today by the thought of Pinker in 
peril on the boundless deep for our profit and advance- 
ment. He wasn't over-struck by my article on you,^ 
which I reckon as rather a good sign of its real excellence. 
I trust you are better. 


A. B. 

^ Pierre Marie Augustin Filon, French literary critic. 
^ For the Cosmopolitan Magazine. 




6 June 1902 Trinity Hall Farm 

MY DEAR Wells, ""''^'ff' 

A young friend of mine of the name of Humberstone,^ 
a person of some parts, including obstinacy and enter- 
prise, has conceived a Schoolmasters Year-Book and has 
got Swan Sonnenschein to run it. The annual is to con- 
tain some special articles, and Humberstone wants an 
article from you. In discussing the book with me he 
asked me if I would "pave the way" for him with you. I 
said I would write to you, and lo! I have written to you. I 
informed him that your stuff had to be paid for a tidy bit. 
He wants you to write about anything that is dear to you. 
If you are disposed to consider this matter, I will tell the 
youth to do his own business with you direct. 
Here endeth this paving letter. ^ 

E. A .B. 
P.S. I have just read The Sleeper for the first time. You 
make a great mistake in condemning it. But literary 
criticism was never your forte. 

Kindest regards to Mrs. H.G. 

A. B. 

^ Thomas Lloyd Humberstone. Swan Sonnenschein and Co. 
Ltd was a publishing company. The Schoolmaster* s Yearbook and 
Directory appeared annually until 191 5. 




Spade House 
8 June 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

We're just off to Switzerland and IVe exhausted my 
poor little brains on the first half of the stuff that is to 
follow up Anticipations in the F^R^ I'm afraid I'd not be 
able to do anything for this cove. He'd find the editors of 
the School World very friendly and useful I think. Ask 
him to send me a form by the bye. I'm an ex secondary 
schoolmaster with degrees and things. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
He ought to ask Professor Perry ^ for an article on mathe- 
matical teaching and A. T. Simmons^ of the School 
World for one on science work. 

■•• Mankind in the Making appeared in the Fortnighdy Review, 
from September 1902 to September 1903. 

2 John Perry (i 850-1920), Professor of Mechanics and Mathe- 
matics, Royal College of Science. 

^ Arthur Thomas Simmons (1865-1921), joint editor of the 
School JVorld. Simmons was an old friend of Wells's days at die 
Normal School of Science in South Kensington. 






Spade House 
3 July 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

Get hold if you can of H. B. Marriott Watson's Godfrey 
Merivale?- It's quite a new departure for him — in the 
Man from the North vein. I think you may Hke it ex- 
tremely. The last 30 pages cook up amazing. You see. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Henry Brereton Marriott Watson (1863-1921). Godfrey Meri- 
vale, a Portion oj His History was published in May 1902. Watson 
was a prolific writer of romances. He was an assistant editor of 
Black and White and the Pall Mall Gazette, and had also served on 
the National Observer under W. E. Henley. It was Watson who 
introduced Wells to Henley. 




Spade House 
2 September 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

iVe just read the Cosmopolitan article^ and I am 
enormously satisfied. This sort of thing Hke a theatrical 
poster has to enhance, but allowing for that, it takes me 
as being really good. It keeps what I imagine to be a like- 
ness in spite of the enlargement; it is acutely sympathetic. 
Accept I pray you my warmest thanks. And also for put- 
ting me on to that quite brilliantly done and (as Dr. Rob" 
Nicoll ^ would say) most unpleasant book, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Chamhre? We don't turn out a book a 
year over here on the level of that work as work. One 
came out of it like Falstaff out of the buck basket. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

* E. A. Bennett, "Herbert George Wells and His Work," August 
1902. See Appendix B, p. 260. 

^ Sir William Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923), a Scottish man of 
letters and Free Church Minister, founder of the Bookman. 

^ By Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917), published in 1900. Mirbeau 
was a radical journalist and dramatist, at one time a member of 
Zola's group. 




Spade House 
9 September 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett 

Anna ^ to hand. I will do my duty by her and you. 
Meanwhile learn that The Wings of the Dove is a book 
to read in and learn from. There are things in it you 
couldn't do, / couldn't do, nobody could do but James. 
Some are defects — some aren't. Anyhow I would give 
an oceanful of Octopuses^ and a bloody suburb full of 
Houses with Green Shutters and all George Moore what- 
soever for this book, which I will honestly confess I have 

not at present read through. , , 

^ ° Yours ever 

H. G. 

If I wasn't so pressed I'd do a few remarks in the Educa- 
tional press. 

The Sleeper has a broken back and a swollen rump. — You 
don't know. 

Address. Poste Restante Faido next week. Then 

^ Anna of the Five Towns, 1902. 

^ The Octopus: a Story of California, 1901, by Frank N orris, a 
novel of the exploitation of California farmers and their products 
by a railway system. 




Spade House 
9 September 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett, 

Anna is very good indeed — a good picture of the Pot- 
tery culture (or want of it) full of incidental interest and 
interesting as a story. The characters strike me as real, 
consistent and individual, Mynors perhaps a little hard 
and flat, not quite modelled, a little touch of personal 
vanity — about the shape of his nose for example — would 
have rounded him off — but the rest all there. Your style 
is not of course my style and there's not three consecutive 
sentences I should let stand if I had the rewriting of it, but 
that is partly individual difference. Pardy it isn't. Partly 
it is that — blessed thought! — you are not yet artistically 
adult, Gissing and George Moore and the impersonal 
school and a certain consciousness of good intentions are 
evident — it is not suggestive of the ease and gusto and 
mastery of your Potters with the clay for example, it isn't 
nearly so easy and engaging and good as the stuff you 
have been writing in the Academy ^ — so far as style goes. 
For example, down here you told a story about ''hanging 

^ The Truth About an Author ran in the Academy anon}'mously 
from 3 May to 2 August 1902. 


about a chapel on the offchance of a service" and yOu told 
it in just the note. It was enjoyed and remembered. In 
your story that comes in inopportunely with no sense of 
enjoyment. On the whole I should describe my im- 
pression as being that of a photograph a little under- 
developed. It is most underdeveloped towards the end. 
There you have arranged a series of very finely planned 
and I (as an experienced workman) know, finely imagined, 
emotional scenes. And they don't tell for a quarter what 
they are worth. The visit of Anna and Mynors to the 
Price home is cardinal. It ought to be charged with 
emotion. It ought to be immense. It was worth writing 
over and over again, it was worth sweating blood to do 
well. Good lines of course in abundance — the last on 341 
for example ^ — but as a whole .^ You reach the top of the 
book (and it's fairly high) in the Isle of Man. From 
the death of Titus Price onward you are not all you 
will someday be (D.V.) But the way you tip W. P.^ 

^ **The next day Sarah Vodrey [the Price's servant] died — she 
who had never lived save in the fetters of slavery and fanaticism. 
After fifty years of ceaseless labour, she had gained the affection of 
one person, and enough money to pay for her own funeral. Willie 
Price took a cheap lodging with the woman who had been called in 
on the night of Sarah's collapse. Before Christmas he was to sail 
for Melbourne. The Priory, deserted, gave up its rickety furniture 
to a van from Hanbridge, where, in an auction-room, the frail 
sticks lost their identity in a medley of other sticks, and ceased to 
be. Then the bricklayer, the plasterer, the painter, and the paper- 
hanger, came to the Priory, and whistled and sang in it." (London 

^ Willie Price, Anna's young poverty-stricken lover, who at 
the end of die novel, is killed by a fall into a coal shaft. 


down the coal shaft couldn't possibly be neater or 


These are impressions. Don't take 'em to heart if they 

don't please you. ,. 

^ -^ Yours ever 

H. G. 

I like the book out of comparison with The G.B.H} — a 

mere lark that, as I said at the time. 



Spade House 
[18 September 1902] Sandgate 

My dear Bennett 

I was struck with a perfectly vivid presentation of a 
play in The Sea Lady and I sent the book to Maude ^ (dead 
loss of 4/6 including postage) and suggested as much. 
The reply was as you will infer and he asked to see me on 
"another matter". Asked him, what other matter? V'la. 
Now what I say is this. No money, no more work, but 
if Maude will agree to stump up £200 (i.e. £100 each) on 
the play on delivery of the M.S. (stamped agreement) I'll 
put in a fortnight after Dec ist 1902 this next December 
I St i.e. I enclose my reply to him, which please seal and 

■^ The Grand Babylon Hotel, 1902. 
^ Cyril Maude, actor and manager. 


Anna I find ripens in the mind. I may have second 
thoughts about Anna, 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
What reviews are you getting? 



Trinity Hall Farm 
20 September 1902 Hockliffe 

My dear H. G. 

Knowing officially from you that for you 'no such 
thing as excellence exists/ I will not conceal my satis- 
faction at your remarks about Anna, I reckon no one in 
this isle knows more about the craft of fiction than you, 
except possibly me, and I am always struck by the shrewd- 
ness of your criticisms of novels from that point of view. 
But I think your notions about verbal style are funda- 
mentally wrong, and nevertheless it just happens in this 
instance that what you say about my style is, I think, 
mainly correct. There is a 'certain consciousness of good 
intentions' that has jolly well got to disappear. Also I 
am inclined to agree that I am not yet artistically adult 

(at 35!) 

I don't think the book falls off much after the death of 

old Price, and I think the emotional quality of the end is 


as good as any. As to the under-developed photograph, 
this is largely a matter of taste. But I trust you under- 
stand that the degree of development to which I have 
brought the photograph, is what I think the proper de- 
gree. It is Turgenev's degree, and Flaubert's. It is not 
Balzac's. Anyhow it is the degree that comes natural to 
me. I note the possibility of your having second thoughts 
about the book. 

I have had no reviews worth mentioning yet. 


What a pity you sent The Sea Lady to Maude! He is 
utterly without judgment. 

All right. I will make the state of the case plain to 
Harrison myself. I scarcely fancy their enthusiasm will 
carry them up to £200. But if it does, I am 'on'. 

If it doesn't, I am prepared to offer to pay you half of 
all I make out of The Crime up to ;!(^ 1,000, if you care to 
turn it over to me absolutely. I have, personally, no 
scruples about taking another man's ideas under the wing 
of my own name in a case of this kind. But you may 
object to such an arrangement. The suggestion is merely 
a suggestion, and you have my leave to ignore it. 

Remembrances to Mrs. 

E. A. B. 




Spade House 
Ti September 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett, 

You'll come to a proper view of style by degrees and 
your attitude towards my criticisms shows nothing but 
the restiveness proper to a young man of spirit. I shall 
when the mood takes me reread the end of Anna. 

I feel strongly that The Crime is rather too good a thing 
to drop. I think you make a fair offer about taking it over, 
but on the whole I'd rather I think see it through. But 
I don't see any chance of getting really to work at it until 
1903. It's all nonsense to say it would only take me a 
week. I don't work that way. Suppose you go through it, 
amplify the scenario, get in some key lines and in fact 
write a sort of latticework of the play. Get this done in 
duplicate, send me a copy and use the other to negotiate. 
I'll turn the whole thing over in my mind and (if I may) 
come down to Hockliife either in Dec 1902 or Jan 1903. 
I think we want a different relationship of the murderer 
and the woman. I feel if we let the thing go down to the 
subconscious for a bit it will come up stronger and richer. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




Spade House 
27 September 1902 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett 

If you like we'll fix up for four days (to be dated ex- 
actly later) in the first week in December. 

Not too much of How to become an Author — not too 
much of all that sort of thing. Cut your channel deeper. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



Spade House 
14 October 1902 Sandgate 

Hon'd Bennett. 

The week begins Thursday Dec 4th when I arrive, and 
ends Monday Dec 8th when I depart. 

God in his Mercy bless and keep you. 

H. G. Wells 



[9 December 1902] 6 Clements Inn^ 

My dear Bennett 

I arrived here about 12 — in the middle of a large ball of 
dust, dirt, fluff and things indescribable. . . .^ and I am 
going to buy a 12 h.p. Napier at the very earliest oppor- 
tunity. I have burned to tell you of one very sad con- 
tray tom which has arisen to shadow the very pleasant 
stay I had with you. Jane it seems in early youth was 
alarmed or angered or something by *a little white terrier 
dorg\ You see at once my melancholy predicament! 

Your coat is being dealt with in a 40 h.p. carpet beating 
machine and hopes are entertained that it will be fit for 
packing tomorrow. Also your shirt. My Rumbrella has 
disappeared in these peregrinations. Either the motor- 
man (or Harrison, which considering what he wore is 
likelier) put my Rumbrella up his leg or you got my 
Rumbrella. If you got my Rumbrella send my Rum- 
brella. I shall be here until Saturday morning. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

1 Wells kept 2l pied-a-terre here for about a year. 

2 Wells's dots. 




Spade House 
20 August 1903 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

The Truth about an Author is literature; Leonora ^ as 
you will someday come to see is no more than a creditable 
performance. In the former you are saturated in know- 
ledge, and the result is altogether happy. The latter — the 
latter is matter for discussion. The dreadful thing is the 
death of the husband, I don't see how you can forgive 
yourself that, and the subsequent petering out of the 
book. But anyhow you haven't wrung the guts of life 
though ever and again you get astonishingly near the 
illusion. One is impressed by the idea that the clever 
Bennett is going to be a fearful job for the artist Bennett 
to elude. "The Dance" for example is astonishingly neat 
and near, but it's fake. You've never been there. You 
impress me as knowing everything about Leonora except 
how it feels inside, and you've seen fit to write the book 
from inside. One is continually sitting back and saying 
Now did she do that.^ and deciding that it is not im- 
probable she did. But one doesn't do that with a character 
that is really and truly got. With some of the people of 

1 1903. 


Thackeray and Dickens you say: "How like Becky (or 
whoever it is) to do that?" We aspire to exalted levels my 
friend and in that spirit I write. You do all sorts of sub- 
sidiary things in the book extraordinarily well. The nice 
shallow daughters (not the examinee who's not under- 
stood) (P.S. Jane says she is) the horrible vulgar social 
atmosphere (though done without the complete detach- 
ment one might like) David, the old uncle and his inside 
window, the father (excellent in his secrecy) many things 
like that couldn't be better. But Twemlow! Look here! 
I think the trouble is this. You're afraid of your principal 
characters. Twemlow hasn't modelling, he hasn't the un- 
expected inevitable thing about him that makes an in- 
dividuality. He's all right everywhere — that is to say he 
is all wrong. He might have been made by combining all 
the virtues that get full votes in a committee on the up- 
standing manly commercial man of the world, and ex- 
cluding everything else. You never met him Bennett. 
You'll say you've met him by the dozen perhaps. Which 
is exactly what I'm after. 

Excuse my handwriting. I'm in bed with my beastly 
kidney again, and believe me. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




7 Halsey House 
24 August 1903 Red Lion Square 

My dear H. G., 

Your letter robbed me of my afternoon's sleep today 
(I only got it this morning). I think your criticisms are 
usually tonic and wholesome for me. And you impress 
me fearfully sometimes — it may be your matter or your 
manner — I don't know which. I really do think you have 
a power of finding fault with fiction which I have not 
seen equalled. And yet I also feel that you are incapable 
of learning what I hiow^ critically, of fiction. Your out- 
look is too narrow, and you haven't read enough. You 
still cling to the Dickens-Thackeray standards, and judge 
by them. As when you say: "How like Becky Sharp!" 
Would you say "How like Eugenie Grandet, or Madame 
Bovary, or Maisie.'^" The strongly marked character, the 
eccentric, the sharply-defined type, is the easiest thing in 
the world to do (you wouldn't believe how I despise my 
Meshach Myatt ^ as a creation) in such a manner that the 
reader can recognize all his acts for his. But the less 
typical can not, and ought not, to be done in this way, for 

^ The wealthy and eccentric uncle of Leonora's husband, John 
Stan way. 


the reason that they are not so in Hfe. It is in remarks Hke 
that that I think you give yourself away and impair the 
'sanction' of what else you say. Far more important, 
have you grasped the fact that what I aim at is the ex- 
pression of general moods, whether of a person or a whole 
scene, a constant 'synthetising' of emotion, before the 
elucidation of minor points of character.'^ We should 
never be able to agree about the death of the husband. I 
take it you object to it because it is a sort of coincidence 
and because it solves (anyhow apparently) the difficulty 
of Leonora. I must talk to you sometime about coinci- 
dences in fiction and in life. The fact that this death 
solves a difficulty is to me entirely beside the point. It is 
a part of the inmost scheme of my book. I seem to think 
that the novelists who would object to it that it was too 
timely, are too proud to take the genuine material of life 
as they find it. Or they are afraid to. Because life is 
simply crammed full of such timelinesses. Personally, I 
think the stuff after the husband's death the best part of 
the book. 

Quite beyond argument, you are wrong about Rose. 
She is dead right all through. I know the type as well as 
you do. Whatever the "dance" is, it is not fake. I have 
emphatically been there, and the thing is quite genuine, 
failure or not. 

I fancy I shall make you a present of Twemlow, as I 
don't know whether I believe in him or not myself. 
When I began the book I didn't, but as I proceeded I 

1903 BENNETT It) WELLS 97 

gradually believed in him. The plot demanded an Anglo- 
American, and I simply invented him to meet the case 
exactly. I confess I have never met him. My brother 
(who is [a] good judge) said he was not convincing, but 
my sister (who is a better judge) is quite satisfied with 

I feel in spite of my judgment that most of what you 
say is half true, in the annoying manner of half-truths. 
And I am much obliged to you for your candour (no one 
else will be so candid). I am conscious now of an inten- 
tion to make you get down unconditionally on to your 
knees yet, in a future book. Of course I see you are deal- 
ing with the thing at an extremely high level, and that is 
all right. I do honestly wish, quite apart from this book, 
that I could fill you with a sense of your artistic limita- 
tions. No one, except Turgenev, ever had more technical 
skill than you have. But your perception of beauty is 
deficient; at least it isn't sufficiendy practised and de- 
veloped. However, go on and prosper 

"My confidence is unabated," says Sir T. Lipton to- 
day.^ So is mine. (This is rather fine humour, eh?) 

^ In the first race for the America's Cup on 23 August 1903 the 
Reliable^ the American yacht, defeated the Shamrock, the British 
entry, owned by Sir Thomas Lipton. "Sir Thomas Lipton, on 
being interviewed by a representative of Reuter's Agency with 
regard to the race, said: — 'We were beaten fair and square. It was 
splendid weather, and Shamrock did not do so well as I had expected 
she would in a race to leeward and return. My confidence in Sham- 
rock is unshaken, and I hope she will yet make much better show- 
ing.'" {The Times, 24 August 1903.) 



The Truth about an Author may be literature. But it 
isn't imaginative literature, and so cannot enter into the 

I hope this kidney trouble is nothing but what can be 
got over easily, and due merely to an imprudence. Let 
me know. 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 



Spade House 
19 September 1903 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

It's quite the best book ^ in its way and it's a orrible 
way. It will, thank God! be not of the slightest use to any 
human being. And no end will buy and read it. I believe, 

somewhere about the seat of your b s, you conceal 

a caudal appendage of this description /"n^. There is 
what would otherwise be an inexplicable infernality about 
you. Did you or did you not see, or did you sometimes 
get a sort of refracted sight and sometimes forget, the 

^ How to Become an Author , 1903. 


humour of beginning with the Art of SpeUing?^ Passages 
read like a parody of Dr. Caliban.^ 

There is a more extraordinary first rate novel in all this. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



4 rue de Calais ^ 
8 October 1903 Paris 

My dear H. G., 

Many thanks for Mankind in the Making.'^ Like Antici- 
pations it is very wonderful, and very uneven. Some of the 
things in it are so excellent and so persuasive that they 
make one promise one's self to forgive you all your sins, 
past, present, and to come. All the criticism of the modern 
small home (p. 170 and thereabouts) is simply splendid. 
And I am very much struck indeed by your suggested 3 
'courses' of Higher Education (p. 329 et seq.) and your 

^ Bennett's first chapter is actually entitled ''The Literary 
Career." In Chapter II, "The Formation of Style," Bennett recom- 
mends in the first subdivision, "The Self-Education of the Aspir- 
ant," that the novice learn how to spell as a preliminary step. 

^ A reference to Hilaire Belloc's humorous book, Caliban s Guide 
to Letters, 1903- 

^ Bennett's home in Paris for more than three years of his pro- 
tracted residence in France. He wrote here die novels Leonora, A 
Great Man, Sacred and Profane Love, and Whom God Hath Joined. 

^ September 1903. 


general shelving of merely informational knowledge. 
Also by your schemes for, and defence of, authors. Also 
by the close of the book. Much of the book is really 
human. At the same time I will not conceal from you that 
I often thought of your reference to 'jerry-building' on 
p. vi as being decidedly to the point, and that to confess 
a sin is not to excuse it. As with Anticipations I think the 
book might have been much better if you had put more 
*back' into it. You replied, as to Anticipations that if I 
only knew the amount of 'back' you had put into it, I 
should not etc. etc. Nevertheless, I still think you might 
advantageously have martyrised yourself a little more. 
The sexual chapter was very disappointing to me. It 
didn't seem to be thought out to a finish, and it seemed 
to say either not nearly enough or too much. If you had 
other things to say, not meant for England, I hope you 
will arrange to put them in full in the French edition. 
That chapter was full of unconvincingness for me. For 
example, the suggestion that 'adult' matter should, or 
could, be kept from the young by means of a high price, 
struck me as singularly inept. I do not see how it can 
stand up against criticism for a single instant. And it is 
a crucial point. Also your remarks on literature as such 
betray your fundamental inability to grasp what art is, 
really. The literary sense c2,xmot be quickened in the 
manner suggested at the bottom of p. 372.^ If you could 

^ "A few carefully chosen pages of contemporary rubbish, read 
with a running comment, a few carefully chosen pages of what is, 


only see how you give the show away by such a remark 
as that about Plato on p. 334! ^ As a mere matter of 
opinion, my opinion is absolutely the reverse of yours 
that "every well-known living writer is or has been 
writing too much." Quite the contrary. 

And in view of your terrific indictment of the English 
peoples for mauling the English language, I think the 
mere writing of a lot of the book falls short of even a 
respectable average. In Anticipations the sentences were 
over-loaded, and the words badly arranged, and often the 
meaning had to be disentangled. The same here, only 
more so. You have just got to face the fact that I was 
continually, except in the best passages, irritated by the 
bad technique of the writing. How do you defend this: 
"It is one of the most amazing aspects of contemporary 
life, to converse with some smart . . . woman etc" (p. 164) } 
There were sundry examples of bad grammar, scores of 
bad punctuation, hundreds of striking inelegance, and 
not a few of an obscurity that might easily have been 
avoided. You may say that these things are nothing, 
that you can't be bothered with them; in the spirit which 
asks me whether I can't see the humour of advising the 

comparatively, not rubbish, a little lucid discussion of effects and 
probabilities would do more to quicken the literary sense of the 
average person than all the sham enthusiasm about Marlowe and 
Spenser that was ever concocted." 

^ "Plato, for example, who has certainly in the veiy best trans- 
lations quite perceptibly no greater mind dian Lord Bacon, Newton, 
Darwin, or Adam Smith, becomes god-like to all who pass beyond 
the Little Go." 


literary aspirant to begin with spelling. But it won't do, 
my son. And I half believe you jolly well know it. I sit 
at your feet in many things, but when I ope my mouth on 
the art and craft of your trade it behoves you to listen. 
There is a blind spot in your eye; either that or you are 
wayward. Now reread p. i of this present effusion. 

I have got a "charming little flat" here, and furnished 
it myself. When next you run over to Switzerland for 
half a day, you must look in. 

Best respex to the Mrs. 

E. A. B. 

I hope this letter will get through on 2|d., but I have 
a sort of horrid doubt it will be overweight. 

I am very happy to admit that that phrase ''the artist 
living angrily in a stuffy little corner of pure technique," 
is an example of brilliant witty writing and perfectly just 
criticism. It amused me for hours. 








Spade House 
[October 1903] . Sandgate 

Really I have known most of what you say, but your 
saying it will most certainly make me more heedful and 


make it easier to be heedful of these slovenHnesses in 
future. And I'm just sending your How to be &c to a 
young man newly come to town from Cambridge, in- 
tending to write. 



Hotel (T Italie 
4 January 1904 ^^^^^^ 

Dear ones, 

Your sweet note to hand. I have been here 20 days, 
and am writing a play with Phillpotts, which will be 
finished in a few days.^ For my views, ideas, and sensa- 
tions, see T, P, cum grano.^ I do not expect to stay here 
after the end of next week, as my mother is disconcert- 
ingly ill and I am 2 days off London, where she is. I shall 
return to Paris. I only came to England for a few days at 
Xmas, and those few days I spent with her in the Five 
Towns, where I mingled in the great 'Vice' controversy 
with great pyrotechnic effect.^ Just before leaving Paris I 

^ A Credit to Human Nature, never published or produced. 

2 Bennett at this time was writing a series of articles for T.P.'s 
Weekly entitled "A Novelist's Log Book." The series ran from 13 
November 1903 to 11 May 1904. 

^ A Burslem parson, the Reverend Leonard Tyrwhitt, had de- 
nounced from the pulpit the excessive vice in the Potteries. His 
"crusade" was widely publicized, and Bennett, in a letter to the 
Staffordshire Seminal, strenuously resisted Tyrwhitt's allegations, 
maintaining that vice was no more prevalent in the Potteries than 
in any other industrial district. 


read the first instalment of i^. of G} in Pearson s and 
thought it extremely good, barring a few minime verbal 
infelicities. It cost me 2 francs to buy the number, but I 
couldn't resist it. I am now writing a humourous novel ^ 
— I don't know why, except that I wanted to, and there 
was a humourous story of mine in January Windsor ^ 
which the man who says is not humourous is a fool and 
no gentleman. Our play is marketable footle; hence I do 
not enlarge on it. Walking down Fleet Street the other 
day I was told you had yet another child.^ My felicita- 
tions. I hope all are doing well. I wish you would come 
to Paris for a few days. So easy for you. I've got a nice 
little flat there, right in the middle, and give afternoon 
teas there with immense effect. I don't know when I shall 
live in England again. Are you going anywhere in the 
summer.'^ I had meant to stay here till middle of March 
but see ante. When I have finished this humourous novel, 
I have four other novels waiting their turn. I have in- 
structed them to form a queue and wait quietly. I take it 
you are going to revert next to Love and Mr. L. vein. I 
hope so. I had an evening with your Parisian impresario 
Kozaciewicz,^ a few weeks ago, and found him decidedly 

^ The Food of the Gods, which ran in Pearsons Magazine from 
December 1903 to June 1904. ^ ^ Great Man, May 1904. 

^ "His Worship the Goosedriver." Bennett notes in his Journal 
in January 1904, as warrant of his recent success, that the Windsor 
had commissioned him to do six stories. 

* Frank Richard, bom November 1903. 

^ B. Kozaciewicz, translator, widi Henry Davray, of Anticipa- 
tions into French. 


intelligent, and interested sensibly in music too. These 
Parisian johnnies have a wonderfully just and clear- 
headed notion of you. You can't bounce them, you 
know. I suppose you do know. I do not think Romance ^ 
is good. In fact it isn't, and I don't care who knows it. 
Ever read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment} English 
translation damnable; but it is a novel, I'm just reading it 
again. I'm very keen on Monte Carlo at present. I've 
seldom been more interested in anything than I am in 
M.C.2 Write and tell me you will come to Paris. 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 




Spade House 
29 March 1904 Sandgate 

Dear old Bennett 

Wish I was coming to Paris, but I've got a damned 
book^ in hand that necessitates reading all Plato and 
most other things if it is to be done properly and my poor 
dear nose is on the grindstone. Life keeps bright and 

^ A novel (1903) by Conrad in collaboration with Ford Madox 
Hueffer (later Ford). Wells thought very highly of it. 

^ Bennett made Henry Shakespeare Knight, his protagonist, in 
A Great Man, break the bank at Monte Carlo. 

^ A Modern Utopia, 190 5* 


everything goes well, but the Conrads are under an 
upset hay cart as usual, and God knows what is to be 
done.^ J. C. ought to be administered by trustees. 
• Send me your comic novel to abuse. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



4 Rue de Calais 
Tuesday [26 April 1904] Paris 

My dear H. G. 

Thanks for your letter. You seem detestably happy. 

I have just given a letter of introduction to you to a 
man I know, Aleister Crowley, who (with his wife) is 
coming over to England tomorrow and is stopping the 
night at the Metropole, Folkestone, in order that he may 

^ In a letter to Wells dated 30 November 1903 Conrad had 
written "Things are bad with me — there's no disguising the fact. 
Not only is the scribbling awfully in arrears but there's no 'spring' 
in me to grapple with it effectually. Formerly, in m}'- sea life, a 
difficulty nerved me to the effort; now I perceive it is not so. How- 
ever don't imagine I've given up, but there is an uncomfortable 
sense of losing my footing in deep waters." In a letter to David S. 
Meldrum on 5 April 1904, Conrad writes of his fear that his wife is 
to be a helpless cripple as the result of a fall, of his own physical and 
mental debilities and his financial difficulties. {Joseph Conrad: 
Letters to William Blackwood and David S. Meldrum, ed. by 
William Blackburn, 1958.) 


call on you; he wants to ask your opinion about Time} 
He is a poet of some parts, and a really considerable 
traveller. I expect he will call on you Thursday. Beneath 
his eastern exterior there is something in him. 

Love to the darlings, and homage to their mamma. 

E. A. B. 




Spade House 
29 April 1904 Sandgate 

My dear E. a. B. 

No little friends of yours have turned up. But I shall 
be very glad to see anyone fresh from your benedictions 
and still more pleased to see yourself. Let me know 
when you are about. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Crowley was the founder of a mystic, atheistic organization 
that had such tenets as "the law of the strong: this is our law and the 
joy of the world" and "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the 
law." Crowley later sent Wells an admission card to the "Rite of 
Jupiter" held by his organization. 



20 May 1904 Sandgate 

Dear old E. A. B. 

You shouldn't call a book "A Frolic" ^ — it's young — 
but the book is a frolic and a very good one. You don't 
know quite how well you can do this sort of thing and 
consequently you don't do it quite so well as you could — 
you hurry out of it at last. For all that it's first-rate and 
human and with something personal and distinctive that 
Leonora lacked. I wish it was longer, and with more about 
Geraldine, who's dashed in something reckless. I wonder 
if you had planned it more whether it would have been 
better or worse. It might have bit a little more I think. 
It's a success at Spade House, but I think it will be a lot 
too short and not complicated enough for the Beast.^ I'd 
congratulate most men I know on this book. As for con- 
gratulating yor^ — I don't know. I think you might have 
done it better. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Bennett's A Great Man^ A Frolic (1904). 
2 In Wells's correspondence "die Beast" means either an editor 
or the reading public. 




4 Rue de Calais 
25 May 1904 Paris 

My dear H. G. 

Much touched. My only surprise is you don't find 
more fault with it. As a matter of fact, I could have done 
it better, especially towards the end. But, having con- 
ceived it as a 'lark,' I fell into the error of regarding it 
technically as a 'lark' also. One writing. No draft. 
Practically no erasures, and about two months' work at 
most. But then you always prefer the work which costs 
one the least trouble. Now Leonora^ — but what is the 
use of talking about colours to the blind .'^ And that re- 
minds me that your last Strand story was really ad- 
mirable.^ A little faint towards the end I thought, but 
fundamentally damn good. Strangely enough, though I 
never met anyone who perceived the satiric quality in 
The First Men in the Moon^ I have met several who 
have spontaneously explained to me that the Strand 
story is a "fine criticism of life." After this handsome 
praise, if you should come across a story of mine in the 

^ "The Country of the Blind," April 1904. 


May Windsor ^ the least you can do is think it very 

I must see you in the summer. 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 



4 Rue de Calais 
27 September 1904 Paris 

My dear H. G. 

I am disposed to agree with your own estimate of 
"Scepticism of the Instrument." ^ I don't, however, 
think that your third indictment of the instrument is 
quite new. At any rate it is one which I have often 
formulated (clumsily) to myself.^ I wish I was a "scienti- 
fic thinker," so that my praise of your brief but startling 
opusculum might carry more weight. I have had no 

^ "Nocturne at the Majestic." 

^ A paper read by Wells to the Oxford Philosophical Society on 
8 November 1903, and published as an appendix to A Modern 

^ The "instrument" in question here is the generally accepted 
logical process of thought. Wells's diird indictment of this process 
is the tendency of logicians to use the same terms for different 
"planes" or circumstances. Thus the "universe at that plane to 
which the mind of the molecular physicist descends has none of the 
shapes or forms of our common life whatever." {A Modern Utopia, 
1905, p. 388.) 


Opportunity till now of writing you, and I only write now 
because I want information from you. Outside the 
N. L. C.,^ what Clubs do you belong to? I want to be- 
long to a club (not the N. L. C.) where I can have a bed- 
room when I want it; I am going to chuck the flat. What 
do you suggest? Do you belong to the Savile? I rather 
think Marriott Watson is a pillar of that. Kindly put 
your back into this club-question, as it is now important 
for me. I write to you because you look on clubs with a 
fresh and unbiassed eye. 

Respex to Madame 
E. A. B. 
P. S. Ignore my next book.^ It is naught. 



4 Rue de Calais 
2 October 1904 p . 

My dear H. G. 

Many thanks. The Royal Societies is clearly my club. 
But is it not confined to members of learned societies? 
Should I have to get into some learned society first? 
Kindly oblige me further by informing me as to this and 
telling me of anyone whom you know or I know who is 
a member. 

^ National Liberal Club. ^ Teresa of JVatling Street. 


When I said that Teresa of Wading St. was no good, I 
meant that it was really no good. Still you shall see it. I 
am an excellent judge of my own work. I have got in- 
fluenza, and was reading Anna > 5 TA tonight. It is a 
masterpiece. I see that clearly. Before reading Anna I 
re-read T/ie Sleeper, Your opinion of that book is wrong. 
It is 2ijine work. All that it lacks is a little more absence of 
strenuousness. I read it clean through at two sittings: 
That is the highest praise any work can have. Ask 
Davray if I am not a good judge of my own work. By 
the way, who the hell is M. Blunt ?^ Is it Davray.^ ^ I 
think M. Blunt is apt to lay down canons for English that 
English won't have, but you know that on the whole I am 
a pro-Blunt. It is only because I have reasons for not 
wanting to quarrel with you that I have refrained from 
joining the " W. G." correspondence,^ and really showing 

^ In the September 1904 issue of La Nouvelle Revue appeared 
an article by Frank Blunt entitled "Af. H.-G. IVells et le Style'' 
Blunt complains that Wells writes "cz/ com ant de la plume" and has 
no regard for the refinements of writing. As proof, Blunt examines 
individual passages and pages of Place aux Giants {The Food of the 
Gods) and points out numerous repetitions of individual words and 
monotonies of pattern. He maintains that these defects of Wells's 
prose are corrected by his French translators. 

2 Henry D. Davray, French translator of Wells's The Island 
of Dr. Moreau and, with B. Kozakiewicz, Anticipations. He was 
also a member of the staff of the Mercure de France as director of 
the section on foreign publications. 

^ The Westminster Ga{ette. In a review of Wells's Food of the 
Gods in the November 1904 issue of the Mercure de France, Davray 
refers to die stir created in England by Blunt's article in La Nou- 
velle Revue: '^ A peine arrive sur le sol britannicjue^je tombai dans l^ 


you up. I have a collection of your sins that would end 
the matter once for all so far as you are concerned. How- 
ever, in practising the higher literary carelessness you are 
merely following the example of most English great 
writers. You are no worse than Scott, Dickens, Thacke- 
ray, and the Brontes, and you are a jolly sight better than 
Jane Austen. Don't forget to cause The Food of the Gods 
to be sent to me. I wish I hadn't read it, so that I could 
read it again for the first time. My "heresy" articles in 
T, P.s Weekly have raised a devil of a dust.^ Eden ^ is 
very sick because I have ignored Blackmore, and the 
Tennysonians are furious. "T. P." is angry, and Whitten 
says he made a mistake in asking me to write the articles. 
What a world! Kindly tell Davray I am expecting to hear 
from him with an appointment to meet him and Madame 
as they pass through Paris. They must come here for tea. 

Love to all 

E. A. B. 

plus profond ahurissement: dans un grand nombre de journaux, la 
polemique faisait rage autour de cet articled Davray dismisses 
Blunt's criticism rather contemptuously, saying that one should not 
take seriously the fantasies of a facetious critic who resorts to 
arithmetic to find fault with an author whom he pretends to admire. 

^ Bennett had been writing a series of articles in T.P.^s Weekly 
entitled "My Literary Heresies," in which he calls Tennyson a 
minor poet. The series ran from 9 September 1904 to 23 September 

2 Eden Phillpotts. 




Spade House 
3 October 1904 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

It is not at all difficult to join a Royal Society if that is 
necessary for that club — but is it? The Secretary will tell 
you. M. Blunt — Davray says — is the hireling of a Jew 
enemy. Stile ^ my dear chap in this sense of a petty word 
mongering has no place in English literature. The stile of 
my general design, the stile of my thought — C'est moi! 
I don't care a bit if you write about my stile — you will 
do me honour — provided always that you make it in- 
sistently clear that in this matter I am at one with all the 
English swells. The only thing I fear and which makes 
me sore is the sort of criticism that checks the expanding 
common reviewer, chills Macmillan's advertisement im- 
becile, and delays my getting audible. I am honesdy 
doing what I can to clear my prose of repetition and so 
on, but except among passages of high value I don't see 
the force of writing for beauty of phrase. See? 

^ An intentional misspelling. Wells is carrying on the little joke 
he began in letter 48 with reference to Bennett's How To Become 
an Author, 


The Davrays send their love and Vallee^ also — 
joining therein with us. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



4 Rue de Calais 
7 February 1905 [Paris] 

My dear H. G. 

I am much refreshed and encouraged. And I need it, 
as I have got stuck in the middle of my magnificent new 
novel ^ — chiefly owing to a bad attack of influenza. 

Surely the irony of my descriptions of leading hotels is 
not too fine for you! "Tiddy fol-lol" is not good, as sich, 
but seeing that I wrote it for Lloyds Newspaper and that it 
appeared there, it is astoundingly good. However, I 
doubt if it should have appeared in the book.^ 

As to Eden, much may be said on your side, but I 
think you are constitutionally incapable (artistically too 

^ Probably Dr Vallee, Bennett's physician at Les Sablons and a 
mutual friend of Bennett and Davray. 

^ Sacred and Profane Love. 

^ Tales of the Five Towns, January 1905. ''Tiddy-Fol-Lol" is a 
slight story of the reconciliation of an estranged father and daughter. 
Some of the stories in Tales of the Five Towns have large hotels as 
their setting, i.e., "Nocturne at the Majestic." 


irritable and too much preoccupied with mere ideas) to 
appreciate what really is fine, classical, and indeed great in 
The Secret Woman?^ The whole book is far finer than 
any part of it. However. . . . 

Hommages a Madame 

E. A. B. 
Why in Hades do you let Pinker put stuff like your old 
burglary story in Pearsons Mag, as new work? ^ The 
money isn't worth it. 



4 Rue de Calais 
1 8 April 1 90 5 \PaTis\ 

My dear H. G. 

Many thanks for the book.^ If it was a novel I could 
say something useful about it, but as it isn't, I don't 

^ Eden Phillpotts's The Secret JFoman, 1905. 

^ "The Hammerpound Park Burglary," June 1905. The story 
had previously appeared as the thirteenth in The Stolen Bacillus and 
Others, November 1895. But in the December 1904 issue oi Pear- 
sons the editors had appended to Wells's "A Moth-Genus Nova," 
which had appeared as the fourteenth story in The Stolen Bacillus, 
a statement that this and some stories in future issues had already 
appeared in book form but were being reprinted to give diem a 
wider audience. 

^ A Modern Utopia, 1905. 


know that I can. The latter half of it is much more con- 
vincing and suggestive than the first half, and is also 
better done, but all of it is better than Mankind in the 
Making. The two things that strike me about the whole 
thing are the enormous difficulties you have had to face, 
and the continuous brainwork that there is in it. It is a 
book that deserves to be called "gallant." Of course 
what interests me most, and what will interest everyone 
most, is your development of the hierarchy idea. When 
I read your opening sentences about the Samurai I 
thought the section was fanciful and impossible, but I was 
gradually convinced of its possibility. I see that some 
people are grumbling at you because such a caste would 
do a great deal of harm. But that is not the point. The 
point is whether such a caste will come into existence. It 
might. I think it would work first good and then harm, 
like most institutions. But anyhow you have handled it 
most fearfully well. It sticks in my mind. It is astonishing 
to me that a man of your imagination, so untrammeled as 
it is, my poor boy, should be capable of the attitude to- 
ward the Hampstead middle class disclosed on p. 56. 
This is one of your class-prejudices and you can't leave it 
alone. But you surely must see that what produces the 
Hampstead middle class will exist in no matter what 
Utopia. It is a relative matter. Relatively, the Hamp- 
stead middle class is a fine achievement of human pro- 
gress; and relatively it is also the despicable thing you 
insist on rendering it. Your attitude to it is not that of a 


philosopher but that of a Chelsea painter who has not 
'arrived' and sits drinking at the Six Bells while cursing 
all Philistines and plutocrats. 

You are very good about women. I liked all that. 
Personally, my ideas are more oriental, but still there are 
times when I am not oriental. What you say about the 
ugliness of modern women's dress is absolutely wrong. 
Indeed your notions about material beauty are shockingly 
inferior to your other notions. You would like to laugh 
me out of being a Cultivated Person, but you never will, 
and as a Cultivated Person I say that your remarks on 
architecture, for example, are painful. And yet you have 
a glimmering, sometimes, even about architecture. It is 
most extraordinary how, immediately you come to the 
region of moral ideas, your language becomes dis- 
tinguished. "The intricate, austere, and courageous 
imagination of our race" is admirably said. Your analysis 
of political parties in England fills me with awe. It is A i, 
and the indictment of Liberalism is excellent — though I 
am a Liberal, like yourself. There is something about the 
precocity of civilisation on p. 292 that also is worthy of 
you. But why should the Samurai have any religion.^ I 
hope you aren't going to defend that worn out platitude 
to the effect that religion is a necessity of man's nature. 
Because it isn't. Religion is done for — any sort of re- 
ligion. Your notions of a religion for the Samurai 
startled me. 

The botanist is bitterly and well done. You have got 


him and all his tribe perfectly on p. 232.^ And I think he 
serves his purpose very well in the book. I wouldn't like 
to pronounce offhand as to the success of the mere 
literary machinery of the book. But I rather fancy at 
present that you have succeeded in spite of it. I would 
respectfully point out that in the italicised prologue you 
have most definitely visualised the voice as a person on a 
platform at a cinematograph show, while in the italicised 
epilogue he is 'carried onward' through the streets. 
Arthur Balfour might dialectically defend this, but it is a 
little confusing. Sullivan's illustrations are not as good 
as the others he did for you. They show a notable falling- 
off — not in conception but in execution. 

You understand, my attitude toward this book is very 
humble. I could only authoritatively find fault with its 
grammar. It has much impressed me, and some of its 
things stick brilliandy in my mind. Kindest regards to 
you both. 

E. A. B. 

^ "Now the botanist's imagination is always busy with the most 
impossible make-believe. ... It may be he is essentially different 
from me, but I am much more inclined to think he is simply more 
childish. Always it is make believe. He believes that horses are 
beautiful creatures for example, dogs are beautiful creatures, that 
some women are inexpressively lovely, and he makes believe that 
this is always so. . . . Then there is his botany. He makes believe 
that all the vegetable kingdom is mystically perfect and exemplary, 
that all flowers smell deliciously and are exquisitely beautiful. . . . 
But I know, and I am querulously incapable of understanding why 




Spade House 
25 September 1905 Sandgate 

Dear Bennett. 

It is good and it is bad, and it is most interesting and 
readable.^ Ouida and the best French models and our 
Bennett and a certain extraordinary and persistent clever- 
ness take me in gusts. Your English though is much less 
clear and simple than it was — stresses on the epithets, and 
a surface of hard bright points. And I feel more than ever 
the difference between our minds. You are always taking 
surface values that I reject, hotels are not luxurious, 
trains de luxe are full of coal grit, chefs and pianists are not 
marvellous persons, dramatic triumphs are silly uproars. 
But it isn't irony — you believe in these things. There 
never was a woman like your woman, but no end of 
women journalists and minor actresses have imagined 

everyone else does not know, tliat a horse is beautiful in one way 
and quite ugly in another, tliat everything has this shot-silk quality, 
and is all the finer for that. . . . There is indeed no beauty whatever 
save that transitory thing that comes and comes again; all beauty is 
really the beauty of expression, is really kinetic and momentary." 
(^A Modern Utopia^ 1905.) The botanist is a foil to the Owner of 
the Voice, the "I" of diis passage, and, we can safely assume, Wells 

^ Sacred and Profane Love^ 1905- 


themselves like her. For some unfathomable reason you 
don't penetrate. You are like George Moore. You have 
probably never been in love. I doubt if ever you weep. 
You have no passion for Justice. You prefer *style' to 
beauty. You are not a poet, you are not a genius. But 
you are a dear delightful person and please let me know 
what time you come to England. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



4 Rue de Calais 
30 September 1905 Par'is 

My dear Wells 

Amid the chorus ("a great book, a great book") which 
that glittering novel has naturally called forth from most 
of my friends, your letter, with its thin small handwriting, 
is like a grandma announcing that I have been having too 
much sugar in my tea and must be content with half a 
lump. My dear H. G. you move me to explain myself to 
you. I have not yet decided whether I am a genius, but 
I shall probably decide, with that astounding quality of 
self-criticism that I have, that I am not. I am probably 
too clever, and, what is more important, too infernally 


well-balanced. I am ready to agree with you that no such 
woman as Carlotta ever existed. No character in any 
novel is more than a hint at the real thing, and it is right 
it should be so. You can't honestly say that Mr. Lew- 
isham ever existed. You know, we all know, that after 
all our satisfaction with Mr. Lewisham, he never lived 
and couldn't have lived. He is an arrangement to suit the 
necessities of a convention; and here and there he bears a 
resemblance to a man. I choose Mr. Lewisham because he 
is one of the least unreal characters I can recall at the 
moment. All I would claim for Carlotta is that now and 
then she does what a real woman would do, and that her 
stiff lay-figure movements are sometimes really not so 
very stiff. Again, I must agree with you as to the style. 
But incidentally you must remember that this is not my 
style, but Carlotta's style, and that it cost me a Hades of a 
lot of trouble. I am inclined to think however that as 
regards style the best book I ever wrote was A Man from 
the North. The question of my style must really be looked 
into. I have never been in love. Sometimes the tears 
start to my eyes, but they never fall. These things are 
indubitable. I have no passion for Justice. That also is 
profoundly true. I recognise that progress is inevitable 
and that it can only be achieved by a passion for justice. 
But I reckon I am above a passion for justice. There we 
come to "the difference between our minds." I look down 
from a height on the show and contemplate a passion 
for justice much as I contemplate the other ingredients. 


Whereas you are simply a passion for justice incarnate. 
You aren't an artist, except insofar as you disdainfully 
make use of art for your reforming ends; you are simply 
a reformer — with the classic qualities of the reformer. 
Hence your amazing judgments on Balzac, Milton, etc. 
Like all great reformers you are inhuman, and scornful of 
everything that doesn't interest you. Hence the com- 
plaint of the anti-Wellsites that in your "scientific" 
novels, there is no individual interest, that the characters 
don't exist individually. A not unjust complaint. The 
pity is that these persons cannot perceive the "con- 
certed" interest of your "scientific" novels. You are not 
really interested in individual humanity. And when you 
write a "non-scientific" novel, you always recur to a 
variation of the same type of hero, and you always will, 
because your curiosity about individualities won't lead 
you further. You are concerned in big crowd-move- 
ments. Art, really, you hate. It means to you what 
"arty" means to me. You live in a nice house, but you 
know perfectly well you wouldn't care what sort of a 
house you lived in. When you say that a great pianist is 
not a marvellous person, you give the show away. For 
you he is not. The astounding human interest of a 
dramatic triumph is for you a "silly uproar." In these 
two instances you show clearly, as regards art and as re- 
gards life, where your interests stop. You won't have 
anything to do with "surface values" at all. You don't 
merely put them in a minor place; you reject them. A 


couple of pages devoted to surface values will irritate you. 
You will never see it, but in rejecting surface values you 
are wrong. As a fact they are just as important as other 
values. But reformers can't perceive this. They are 
capable of classing chefs, pianists and trains de luxe all 
together and saying: "Go to, I am a serious person." 
You are, you know. The same spirit animates you as 
animated George Macdonald's grandmother, who ob- 
jected to the violin as a profane instrument. And the 
mischief is that, though you will undoubtedly do a vast 
amount of good in the world, you will get worse and 
worse, more and more specialised, more and more scorn- 
ful. All this is not an explanation of you; but an ex- 
planation of me. It "connotes" the difference between 
our minds. I proposed writing to you to offer Mrs. 
Wells and you the advantage of my presence for a night 
or so on my way to England early in December. If this 
suits, I can then respectfully listen to your defence. I am 
much too vain to mind being called "not a poet," and 
"not a genius." But to be called a "dear delightful 
person" rouses my worst instincts. It makes me feel as if 
I was like Marriott Watson or Pett Ridge,^ and I ain't, 
not really. 

Hommages a Madame 

E. A. B. 

^ William Pett Ridge, a prolific writer of popular novels. He 
published steadily until his death in 1930, 




Spade House 
[October 1905] Sandgate 

Dear Bennett 

You're a good upstanding person. All I've said was 
right but I like your spirit. We shall look forward to 
Dec. when your education will be resumed. 

Yours ever. 

H. G. 



4 Rue de Calais 
9 November 1905 [Paris] 

My dear H. G., 

The only real seizable fault that I can find in Kipps ^ 
is the engagement to Helen, which entirely failed to con- 
vince me. In fact it is useless to tell me they ever were 
engaged. I do not believe it. If you had made of Helen a 
less real and lifelike figure than she is, then I might have 
been persuadable. But she is extremely well done, and so 
she gives you the lie in the matter of the engagement. 

1 1905. 


Ann is more than well-done, she is Very Fine, and the 
Ann scenes are the best in the book. After agreeing with 
myself that I read the thing all through with eagerness 
and joy, and after telling myself that I must not expect in 
your 'human interest' novels those aspects of life which 
you either can't see or disdain to see, I find myself asking 
what this book "proves", and not getting any answer.^ 
As it is distinctly a fighting, ' tendencieux' book, I think I 
ought to have an answer. Why this immense animus 
against the "nace" ^ class of person, since we are all 
human together.^ Am I to understand that in your 
opinion as a purposeful observer of life the 'nace' class is 
more ridiculous, or less worthy of sympathy, or less the 
outcome of natural and inevitable causes, than any other 
class .^ I ask for information. I don't think your ferocious 
hostility to about five sixths of the characters in the book 
makes for righteousness of any kind, and certainly not 
for artistic righteousness. Especially as you follow Kipps 
about on the stage with a rose-coloured lime light. What 
is the theory of this procedure.^ There is no doubt that 
you achieve the illusion of reality in spite of it, and not 
with its aid. 

^ In a Journal eniry for 7 November 1905 Bennett writes, "I have 
just finished reading [Zola's] VCEuvre. It has taken me a long 
time, because I left it in the middle to read Wells's Kipps. What a 
colossal affair it seems by the side of Kipps^ so serious, tremendous 
and imposing." (I, 222.) 

^ Mr Chester Coote's pronunciation of "nice." Coote is Kipps's 
chaperon into "the higher and better sort of English life," 


If you have set out to amuse and divert the B.P. you 
have richly succeeded in your aim. Ditto if you have 
tried to enUst their sympathies on behalf of the Kippses 
and the Anns. Ditto if you have tried to give impartial 
portraits of the Sids, the Mastermans and the Chitterlows. 
But if you have had any Larger aim, any aim of showing 
how and why one class of persons generally is superior or 
inferior to another, then I don't reckon you have suc- 
ceeded — at any rate with thoughtful, judicious, and high- 
minded people like myself, Mr. Popple (if his name is 
Popple), and others. You said last year, you even faith- 
fully promised, that you were going to write with more 
care. God-a-mercy! After the sentence on p. 409 be- 
ginning: "Next to starting a haberdasher's shop," I re- 
nounce the crusade.^ I respectfully give you up. Damn 
it, after all it doesn't matter how you write. But after 
your animadversions on the Head Master of Dul- 
wich. . . .! By the way your Westminster Gaiette article ^ 
was magnificent, and filled me with holy joy. 

I have a sort of idea that my objections to Kipps 
(except as to the engagement) are rather vague and 
'theoretical.' But nevertheless I think they contain food 

^ The entire sentence is "Next to starting a haberdasher's shop, 
I doubt if Kipps could have been more truly happy than during the 
weeks of preparatidn." 

^ "The Schoolmaster and the Empire," 21 October 1905, later 
published as the sixteenth paper of An Englishman Looks at the 
World, 19 1 4. In the article Wells attacks an essay, "English Ideas 
on Education," by the Headmaster of Dulwich, appearing in the 
independent Review, 


for your thought. Such is my view. That there is "a 
laugh on every page" is beside the point. 

I trust to present my respects in person to Madame in 
about a month's time. 

Yours ever, 

E. A. B. 



4 Rue de Calais 
I December 1905 [Paris] 

My dear H. G. 

Monday week is the nth. Suppose I arrive on that 
night at my usual hour and derive advantage from you 
and Madame for 36 hours .^ Will this suit her and you.^ 

E. A. B. 



31, Spencer Road 
Saturday [16 December 1905] Putney S.JV. 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

I suppose you knew all the time that that train didn't 
go near St. Paul's or Holborn. It went to Cannon St. and 


arrived in nice time for afternoon tea. Thanks to your 
admirable sandwiches, however, I suffered no discom- 
fort, except from cold feet. What a line! In spite of the 
line being what it is, I would never, in your place, leave 
your house. In a word, you are misguiding yourselves 
in going to London. You will regret it, and what is more 
important, I shall. I shall have no place to call at, and be 
looked after, and be fed up with world-theories and the 
greatest music. In fact I shall take the cheap route, 
Southampton, and generally descend in the scale of 
things. Kindly think over this prospect, and remember 
me to Gyp, Frank,^ their author, and the pianola. 

A merry Xmas 

Yours sincerely 

E. A. Bennett 
P.S. And a happy new year, but I hope you won't sell 
your house. 



Spade House 
3 February 1906 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

It's all yours is Hugo ^ — and nobody but you could 
have done it. It's grandio-Bennett-esque, it is magnified 

1 Wells's sons, George Philip and Frank. 

^ Hugo, A Fantasia on Modern Themes, 1906. 


and distorted and glittering and absurd and we like it no 

We rejoice in you and salute you. 
We, poor souls, are torn apart in April and I go to 
America to write articles and see. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



Les Sahlons ^ 
pres Moret 
S& M 
29 June 1906 [postmark] France 

My dear Wells, 

I meant to reply to your last letter, and then I waited 
for your return from U.S. and now I see the announce- 
ment of your articles in the Tribwie ^ and I sat down at 
once, — to tell you and your wife that I am engaged to be 
married to a young woman of the name of Eleanora 
Green, a native of Savannah, Georgia, who has lived 
nearly all her life in Paris. Her age is 25. I can't tell you 

^ Bennett maintained an apartment here for periodic visits. It 
was in the house of a couple named Lebert, retired after thirty-one 
years of railway work in Paris, whose recollections of die Com- 
mune Bennett was to use in The Old Wives' Tale. 

^ The Tribune, published in London. The series of articles later 
appeared as The Future in America, A Search After Realities, 1906. 


any more about her (except that she was destined for an 
operatic singer, and I stepped in just in time to stop her 
debut), because I don't know any more. Let us see what 
kind of a letter of congratulation a publicist and a pro- 
fessional penman can write under these circumstances. 

Love to you both 

E. A. Bennett 
P.S. How are you both? 



4 Rue de Calais 
Tuesday [July 1906] [Parish 

My dear H. G. 

Your letter had an immense success with my girl. She 
has a passion for stern realism. I read her parts of it. 
Your Chicago article was very good. All that you say 
about marriage and Chicago is true. And as for your and 
your wife's good wishes, they give me joy. 

I am — I mean we are — thinking of being married at a 
registry office in Folkestone, this being handiest. If you 
are summering in Sandgate, I wonder if you will let me 
accomplish a formal residence at your house. It means 
2 days at the beginning of the legal term of 16 days, and 
then another two days at the end — four days in all. Con- 
tinuous residence is not necessary. Will this worry you.'^ 


It would occur in August about the 8th to loth and 22nd to 
24th. The marriage will not take place till October. Have 
no apprehension as to being worried in any way by the 
actual marriage. You will neither see nor hear anything 
of it. Eleanora will bring one friend over with her for a 
night, and the other witness I will get in the registry office. 
I see you are turning the Fabian inside out? ^ 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 


r TO 




[July 1906] 

My dear H. G. 

Many thanks for your note. I will take my chance. In 
fact I must do, as I have no dates at present. I'll write 

^ Wells joined the Fabian Society in 1903. In February 1906 he 
read a paper, "The Faults of the Fabian," which called for drastic 
alterations in the organization and programme of the group. For 
months he led a small revolt against the control of "the Old Gang" 
— Mr and Mrs Bernard Shaw, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and 
others. Several of his suggestions were adopted, but after a year 
of various committee meetings, reports and answers to reports, he 
was easily outmanoeuvred by Shaw. He wrote of it in his Experi- 
ment in Autobiography, "No part of my career rankles so acutely in 
my memory with tlie conviction of bad judgment, gusty impulse 
and real inexcusable vanity, as that storm in the Fabian tea-cup." 
(II, 660.) 


later on. My address from Wednesday will be Duchy 
House, Princetown, Dartmoor. I'm going up there with 
Eden ^ to Rx up a new collaborated serial, the last having 
been a marked success.^ Your U.S.A. articles are going 
on excellently. 

Tm going on pretty well. 

Ever yours 

E. A. B. 



4 Rue de Calais 
Saturday [4 August 1906] [Paris] 

My dear H. G. 

I shall not come next Wednesday. My engagement 
exists no longer.^ Can't write to you about it now, but 
it's right bang off, anyhow. I shall hope to come later 
on, if you will have me for a day or two. 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 

1 Eden Phillpotts. 

^ The Sinews of War, A Romance of London and the Sea, 1906. 

^ According to Pound, Eleanora Green had never taken Bennett's 
proposal seriously. She looked upon him as a likeable but essenti- 
ally avuncular, middle-aged person. She was, by her testimony, 
completely unaware of Bennett's preparations for their marriage, 
having not even bothered to read his letters. When she realised 
the seriousness of his intentions, she broke the engagement. 




4 Rue de Calais 
7 September 1906 [Paris] 

My dear H. G. 

I had to leave England all of a sudden, and I am going 
to Holland tomorrow to stay with some friends. As, 
however, I cannot deprive myself of your Light, I pro- 
pose to come over for a week-end sometime next month. 
Five hours will see me at your place. I shall just go no 
further than Sandgate. I will write later to consult your 
august convenience. You both flourish, naturally. 

Yours ever, 

E. A. B. 



Spade House 
8 Septemher 1906 Sandgate 

Dear Bennett. 

Where are you? Come and bring your bandaged 
Heart and sit down here for a day or so beside my 
bandaged knee (I've sprained it badly). House is clear — 


except for one lady of unaggressive qualities — next week 
after Toosday. We was going to Switzerland. In- 
cidentally I want to make you a Socialist. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



Spade House 
[10 September 1906] Sandgate 

Dear Bennett 

Why these secret comings and goings? What are you 
up to and how long are you in England for? 

Your devoted 

H. G. 



Le Grand Hotel- Bruxelles 
Monday [16 September 1906] Boulevard Anspach 


My dear Wells 

I have been yachting with anti-socialists in Holland 
and had no address for a week. Your two letters have 
just arrived at my bedside. So I can't come the day before 
yesterday. But I mean to come soon. You will find it 


impossible to make me a socialist, as I already am one. 

I write you again soon. 

What price Bart Kennedy^ on America in the Daily 
Mail} You are simply nowhere compared with his 
grandiosity. Which reminds me that the tide I had 
chosen for my new book was discovered, at the last mo- 
ment, to have been used by Fergus Hume^ in 1891. 
Fergus, on being applied to, as a matter of courtesy, for 
permission to re-use the title, replied pompously that he 
would have been delighted to accord the grace, had he 
not recently granted a similar application from William 
Le Queux!! 

Wednesday I return to Paris, 
Hommages a Madame 
Yours ever 


^ London author and journalist, later editor of Bart Kennedy s 
Paper ^ in which Wells held a small number of shares, and in 1926 
editor of Ban's Broadsheet in Brighton. 

^ 1859-1932. Author of the extremely popular detective story, 
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, 1887. Hume eventually granted the 
request, since Bennett's *'new book" was published with the same 
title as Hume's Whom God Hath Joined, 1891. 




4 Rue de Calais 
Friday [September 1906] [Paris] 

My DEAR H. G. 

Many thanks for the book/ which I found on my re- 
turn from Holland yesterday. I have already given you 
my views at large on it. I was in the Paris office of the 
Daily Express last night, and was shown your slaughter- 
ing of them. These reviews, though ineffably stupid and 
somewhat dishonest, were inevitable. And I take it that, 
had it not been for your new socialistic prominence,^ you 
would have received them with silence. But now you 
feel that the Cause is involved. Well, in your place, I 
should still be inclined to pursue a policy of masterly 
silence. The people who matter perfectly understand. 
And you will never persuade the people who don't matter 
that the close of the Comet is not profoundly immoral. 

^ In the Days of the Comet, 1906. 

2 In 1906 Wells had also published The Faults of the Fabian and 
Socialism and the Family. The controversy Bennett refers to con- 
cerns the reaction of the English press to what it interpreted as 
Wells's advocacy of free love in the last part of In the Days of the 
Comet. See, for instance, the review in The Times Literary Supple- 
ment of 17 September 1906, and Wells's answer on 28 September. 


Such is my notion. And I think you honoured the 
Express far too much by slaughtering it. 

See you soon, 


E. A. B. 

P.S. This is quite private, and I would not be fair to the 
Paris staff of the Express if it got about through me: they 
were charmed to see the smashing. I don't think anyone 
has a lower opinion of the Express-Mail type of paper 
than the staffs thereof. 



Spade House 
27 November 1906 Sandgate 

My dear Bennett, 

Whom God hath Joined is really a most extraordinary 
good novel, full of knowledge and deft handling and a 
loving sense of social situation. I'm damned if there 
aren't too many good books altogether this year! There's 
a dozen books at least which would have made a memor- 
able season in the mournful old Victorian times, yours,^ 
mine (2),^ Newbolt's quite charming book,^ Doyle's Sir 

^ Whom God Hath Joined, 1906. 

2 In the Days of the Comet and The Future in America. 

3 Sir Henry Newbok, The Old Country. 


Nigel (really a most admirable piece of genre), Conrad's 
The Mirror of the Sea^ Low's book on India.^ Whom God 
Hath Joined I think I like best of all your work. It's a 
thousand miles better than Sacred and Profane Copulation 
and I really think more human than A Great Man, 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



3 Rue d'Aumale 
14 December 1906 [Paris] 

My dear H. G., 

I happened to meet Davray today. He told me you 
had declined an offer of a conference and a banquet here. 
I had not time to discuss it with him, but I gathered the 
refusal is because you are too busy. I didn't tell Davray 
that I should write to you, but I instantly decided to per- 
mit myself to meddle in your affairs to that extent. In my 
opinion if you do definitely refuse this thing you will 
make a great mistake — that is, if you care 2d. for renown 
and influence in France. I know all about the enterprise. 
It is under the very finest auspices in France, and has the 
active support of the very cream of the French Academy. 

^ Sir Sidney Low, A Vision of India. 


A greater honour couldn't be offered to an English 
author. It is true they did it for Gosse; but that was a 
quid pro quo, in return for laudations rendered by him 
during many years in the English press. With you there 
can be no interested motive on their part. You cannot 
possibly be too busy to attend to a thing of this kind. 
If you don't accept it, it will be because you have not 
realised the genuineness of its importance. But you may 
take that from me, and most seriously. The thing is no 
affair of mine, but I should have something on my con- 
science if I didn't tell you that your refusal would amount 
to a crime against yourself. 

Yours ever, 

E. A. B. 



Spade House 
[December 1906] Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

Now you realize my Greatness. Blow the French 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




Spade House 
20 March 1907 Sandgate 

Dear Arnold 

You have produced a book worthy of the same covers 
as Socialism and the Family ^ Rejoice! 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



National Liberal Club 
Saturday [June 1907] Whitehall Place, S,W, 

My dear Bennett. 

So you will marry! ^ Well, I've warned you once. 
Won't you come and see us for just a last dip before you 

^ Wells is referring to Bennett's The Reasonable Life, Being 
Hints for Men and Women, 1907, later expanded and re-published as 
Mental Efficiency, and Other Hints to Men and JVomen, 191 1. 
Wells's Socialism and the Family had appeared in 1906. A. C. 
Fifield published both works. 

^ Bennett was to marry Marguerite Soulie on 4 July 1907. The 
daughter of a baker of Negrepelisse, she had come to Paris to 
work for an aunt who owned a dressmaking establishment, and had 


The Grim Smile ^ is I think your high watermark so 
far. I've read it and admire and envy a pen wonderfully 
under control and now astonishingly expert — I regret 
dissolute years. You get in now nearly all your natural 
liveliness of invention and humour. Never before have 
you got 50% of that. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
Warmest good wishes for the great experiment. 



3 Rue (T Aumale 
I July 1907 \Paris\ 

My dear H. G. 

I had to come back to Paris by telegram, to arrange 
legal formalities for the accursed union. No end of 
trouble. However, I expect to be ruined artistically within 
a week from now, and all your warnings will have been in 
vain. I am extremely glad that you class The Grim Smile 

some social success with recitals of the poems of Baudelaire and 
Verlaine. *"It is easy enough to understand what attracted him to 
his future wife,' says Georges Lafourcade: 'as a man, her beauty 
and personality; as an artist, her talent; as a native of the Five Towns, 
her Parisian characteristics; as a practical man, her domestic 
assets.'" (Pound, p. 176.) 

^ The Grim Smile of the Five Towfis, 1907, a collection of short 


SO high, though it shows a failure on your part to appre- 
ciate things Uke Leonora, Still, I am very content. I sup- 
pose I shall see you both sometime. 

Kindest regards to your wife, 

E. A. B. 


BENNETT TO WELLS {Printed announcement^ 

With the compliments of Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Bennett 
3 Rue D'Aumale, Paris 

To announce the marriage of Mr. Arnold Bennett and 
Madame Marguerite Solie \sic\^ which took place the 4th 
of July, 1907, at the Mairie of the Ninth Arrondisse- 
ment, Paris. 



37 Clarendon Road 
5 December 1907 Putney S,W, 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

Very many thanks for your most kind letter. We 
should very much like to come down between the i6th 
and the 21st, but unfortunately we can't; it is just between 


those dates that we are principally took up. Now if you 
could let us come down late in January or beginning of 
February we could do it. We are staying on in England 
because of my 5 Towns play which the Stage Society is 
producing.^ I don't yet know exactly what we are going 
to do, but I know we shall be in England till the end of 
January at least. 

V Homme Invisible at i fr. is simply all over Paris like 
a rash. In fact it is all over France. 

Perhaps you will let me hear from you in due course as 
to my suggestion. 

Kindest regards to you both, and my wife's compli- 
ments (in French, that is). 

Your sincerely 

Arnold Bennett 

^ Cupid and Common-Sense^ a dramatisation of Anna of the Five 
Towns, produced by Frank Vernon for the Stage Society at the 
Shaftesbury Theatre, London, for two performances on 26 and 27 
January 1908. 




Spade House 
[December 1907] Sandgate 

Dear Arnold Bennett 

The book of Things ^ this year is better than ever. 
A Very Happy New Year to you both and warmest good 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
Tell us when we are to see you. 



3 Ilchester Gardens 
2 January 1908 [London] 

My dear H. G. 

It's Hke this. The play is to be produced at the 
Shaftesbury Theatre Sunday evening 26th and Monday 
matinee 27th. And we propose to return to France 

^ Things Which Have Interested Me [Second Series], which Ben- 
nett had printed privately in Burslem and distributed to friends. 
The first series was printed and issued in the same manner in 
December 1906. 


some day after that and to call on you on our way east- 
wards — if it can be made convenient. When are you 
both coming up? 

You ought to see the play, as there is something in it. 
The S. Society people make a fuss about giving me seats, 
beyond the best box at each performance. I am going 
to get some, but whether what I shall get will exceed the 
demands of my family, I don't yet know. Can't you get 
in *'on your faces''.^ Surely you are running up to town 
before then.^ If so, you both of you lunch or dine with 

Reciprocation of good honest wishes, et mes hom- 
mages a Madame. 

Yours ever 

E. A. B. 


14 January 1908 3 Ilchester Gardens 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

Very many thanks. We should prefer to leave the date 
for future setdement. Do I understand you will be up in 
town about the 26, 27, 28.^ If so what day will you come 
here to lunch or dinner.^ The play is produced on Sunday 


26th and there is a matinee on the 27th. Have you got 
seats? Because if not, I must look after them.^ 

Kindest regards 
Yours sincerely 

E. A. Bennett 



Ilchester Mansions Hotel 
I, 2 & 3 Ilchester Gardens 
9 February 1908 Bayswater, London, JV, 

My dear Mrs. Wells 

Suppose we called on you on Tuesday March 3rd? 
That is the date on which we propose to quit this town. 
Will it do? 

Kindest regards to you both from us both. 
Yours sincerely 
Arnold Bennett 

^ Wells saw the play. In a Journal entry of i February 1908 
Bennett notes: "Wells was delighted, impressed rather deeply, I 
thought." (I, 277.) 




12 February 1908 3 Ilchester Gardens IV. 

My DEAR Mrs. Wells 

Many thanks. We shall be delighted to come on the 
3rd and stay the night. 

Our kindest regards to you both, 
Yours sincerely, 
Arnold Bennett. 



[Postscript from Bennett to JVells] 
Les Sahlons 
6 Mars 1908 pres Moret 

Seine-et- Mame, 
Chere Madame. 

Merci pour I'hospitalite cordiale et charmante que vous 
nous avez offerte. J'ai ete heureuse de faire plus ample 
connaissance avec vous et Mr G. H. \sic\ Wells. Mon 
mari assure que cette visite lui a fait beaucoup de bien. Je 
peux tres bien comprendre cela etant donne I'admiration 
qu'il a pour votre mari. 


Puisque j'ai eu I'avantage de faire le connaissance d'un 
des plus grands ecrivains anglais en la personne de votre 
mari, je vais sous peu faire la connaissance de ses oeuvres 
dans leur langue originale. Notre voyage a ete bon. La 
campagne est agreable malgre le mauvais temps. 

Veuillez recevoir, chere Madame, mes sentiments les 

Marguerite Bennett 

P.S. New Worlds for Old^ is simply magnificent. It is 
certainly by far the best of its series, and it has moved me 
to an unusual enthusiasm. The only fault I have to find 
with it is that the word "extraordinarily" occurs in it 
1,536,407 times. 

The misprint specialist begs to point out that there is 
a howler on page 242 — 'procession' for 'precession'. 
Strange and lamentable that these lapses should happen! 
Receive the assurance of my affection for you all. 

A. B. 



Spade House 
10 July [1908] Sandgate 

Dear Arnold Bennett 

Buried Alive ^ is ripping good stuff. I have just been 
reading it. It's easy and skilful and humourous and daring 
1 1908. 2 ic)o8. 


and everything it ought to be. You are having rather a 
boom in this house. The eminent Miss M. who has 
just come down from Cambridge covered with glories, 
Firsts in Part ii and so on, and who has hitherto been the 
devout admirer of my fiction has picked out The Grim 
Smile of the Five Towns and deserted. I am lending her 
The Grand Babylon Hotel and doing my best to hide the 

Our warmest love to Madame. 

H. G. 



16 September 1908 [Postmark] 

Gratified by your letter! I rely on you to cause 
Premieres et dernieres choses ^ to be sent to me. I will send 
you a truly long book ^ in return. We are en voyage in 
the Midi, after finishing the said book. Our greetings 
to you both. 


^ First and Last Things^ A Confession of Faith and Rule of Life ^ 

2 The Old IFives* Tale. Bennett had begun the novel on 8 Octo- 
ber 1907 at Les Sablons. He finished it at the Villa des N^fliers, 
Avon-Fontainebleau, on 30 August 1908. 




Spade House 
[October 1908] Sandgate 

First Notices 
In the case of Important Books a larger Review will 

The Old Wives' Tale?- Ripping. Enormous various 
Balzac. Arnold has surpassed himself. No further o^ts,- 
tion of First Rank, A great book and a big book. I will 
write further later. Nobody else could come anywhere 
near it. We are satisfied with our Bennett. There are 
only two real contemporary swell novelists under 50. He 
is one. 



[ Villa des Nefliers 
29 October 1908 [Postmark] Seine et Mame 

Well, the firm is duly grateful, and awaits details. It also 
awaits your book or books. It has a suspicion that they 

^ 1908. 


or it have gone wrong owing to your notion of this 
address, which is 

Villa des NEFLIERS (medlar trees) not 
„ „ Negliers. 
HuefFer^ has written to me about his English Review. 
Will his panoramic view of literature be sufficiently 
eagle-eyed to lead him to review The O. IVs' Tale in his 
reviews of a 'limited number' of books, think you? 
We are writing a play about Harmsworth for the Stage 

Love to all from us 

E. A. B. 




Spade House 
[November 1908] Sandgate 

Dear Bennett. 

I am going to write about The O, JV. T. (which I re- 
peat is a great book) later. This is to say that Hueffer says 
there is to be a review in the second number (the first 
is being printed) by a competent hand and that he agrees 

about the e;reatness. ,, 

^ Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Ford Madox HuefFer (later Ford), first editor of the English 
Review, in which Wells was very active. The jfirst number appeared 
in December 1908. 

^ What the Public Wants, 




Spade House 
{November 1908] Sandgate 

My dear Bennett. 

You know what life is. I have really wanted badly to 
write you at length about The Old Wives Tale and make 
you understand that it isn't simply just genial mutual 
flattery and so forth that I want to send you this time. 
And days slip by and all sorts of things get in the way of 
that really satisfying old style letter. I think the book a 
quite pre-eminent novel so that it at least doubles your 
size in my estimation. It is far too big, too fine and too 
restrained to get at first anything like the recognition it 
is bound in the long run to bring you. It is the best book 
I have seen this year — and there have been one or two 
very good books — and I am certain it will secure you the 
respect of all the distinguished critics who are now con- 
suming gripe-water and suchlike, if you never never 
write another line. It is all at such a high level that one 
does not know where to begin commending, but I think 
the high light for me is the bakehouse glimpse of Sam 
Povey.^ But the knowledge, the detail, the spirit! from 
first to last it never fails. 

1 Book II, Chapter V. 


I wish it could have gone into the English Review, 
Well, I go round telling everyone I meet about it — I 
wish Chapman & Hall would do the same. Go on great 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



Villa des Nefliers 
18 November 1908 Avon-Fontainehleau 

My dear H. G. 

What am I to say in reply to your remarks ? Consider- 
able emotion caused in this breast thereby! Also no 
doubt a certain emotion in yours, as you cannot write 
such letters often! 

We must strive to live up to this. That is all. 

Orage ^ has sent me your communication as to Frank 
Harris. Naturally, I was the reviewer.^ Harris was much 
moved by the review, and came down here to see me. He 
is certainly one of the most extraordinary men I ever met. 

1 am reading ist and Last which arrived a few days ago. 
As it isn't a novel I can't pontificate on it. However, 

^ Alfred Richard Orage (i 873-1934), editor of the New Age. 
Bennett started *'a cokimn of book gossip" for the New Age on 
18 March 1908. He wrote under die pen-name of Jacob Tonson. 

2 Harris's novel The Bomb, 1908. 


when I have digested it I shall give you my ideas. There 

is no doubt whatever that it is a great deal too short, a 

very great deal. The Westminster's objections to its tone 

are merely silly. Its tone, like that oi New IV, fr, Old^ is 


^ Yours ever 

E. A. B. 

I am getting rather tired of the IVestminster. 



y^illa des Nefliers 
23 November 1908 Avon SjM 

My DEAR H. G., 

Those moments of "worship" (p. 50).^ Of all the 
points in your book, this has most stuck in my mind. I 
wish you had enlarged on it, and not got out of it by re- 
ferring to 'poverty of language.' I should like to have 
known what exactly you did mean — do mean. I regard 
this as the most important thing in the book, and it is not 

^ Bennett is referring to the following passage in First and Last 
Things (1908). **At times in the silence of the night and in rare 
lonely moments, I come upon a sort of communion of myself and 
something great that is not myself. It is perhaps poverty of mind 
and language obliges me to say that then this universal scheme 
takes on the effect of a sympathetic person — and my communion a 
quality of fearless worship. These moments happen, and they are 
the supreme fact in my religious life to me, they are the crown of 
my religious experiences." 


really handled. I myself have never, at any rate for 25 
years, had the slightest movement towards worship or 
anything resembling worship. This is why I want to 
know what people do feel in that line. 

p. 85 and p. 90 — ^Against immortality and transmigra- 
tion of souls. I think you are too summary here. Having 
regard to the enormous philosophic ingenuity of Buddh- 
istic and kindred dogma, I don't see how you can dis- 
miss transmigration of souls as imaginings of *'a race of 
children."^ The memory difficulty has certainly been 
smoothed away for me. Here is another immensely 
important matter which I think you deal with too 
brusquely. By the way, I don't see the point of the refer- 
ences to Henley and Stevenson on p. 240. Personally 
(again) I am at present a believer in the transmigration of 
souls, as the theory which presents fewest difficulties. 
But if you can indicate to me any full attempt to make it 
seem impossible, I shall be glad to read the same. 

After the above 2 matters, all others strike me as 

There is an implied reference to 'Platonic' love on p. 21 1 
which gives the reader to think that you think that Plato 
brought into prominence the notion of friendship between 
men and women. I do not think this is so. My idea is that 
the phrase 'platonic love' has been quite changed in mean- 

^ Bennett was to treat the subject of transmigration of souls, at 
least as it is expressed in Theosophy, extensively in The Glimpse, 


ing, and that Plato meant something quite different and 
even more spiritual. In other words I think you have 
carried on a popular error. But I am not sure. 

p. 169. "Plane of the barrack yard higher" etc. This is 
enormously ingenious and effective. But it does not con- 
vince me. In this military town I am a great watcher of 
soldiers, both in and out of barrack yards, and although 
what you say is all right so far as it goes, I would cer- 
tainly put the plane of the barrack yard much lower than 
the plane outside. Your remarks on the future of war 
are A.i, and gave me light. The bit about cutting an 
atom in two with a knife is extraordinarily illuminating. 
This is what / call imagination. 

Other matters that have stuck in my mind as being 
good, fine, helpful, are 

43. The ethics of controversy. I remember you once 
sat on a Knight in the Chronicle for his crude notions 
of controversy. 

79. The race walking in its sleep. 

97. Gathering experience for the race. 

(But you don't say where it's stored, anti- 

148. Ingenuous reason for number of creeds in U.S.A. 

192. Every theory has a finer offspring than itself. 

245. Thought has made me shameless, 

159. Against seceding. 

195. All this against the popular notion of honour. 
You will wake many sympathies here, I bet. 


156. No 'beginning afresh'. 

196. Against 'justice' and litigiousness. I like this 

As you are undoubtedly a litigious person by 
nature, this passage either speaks very well for 
your imaginative power, or it is simply an in- 
genuous index of the change going on in you. 
I think the latter. I think that New IV, for Old and 
this book show an immense development, not in 
power, but in temper. They certainly increase 
one's affection for you. 

It seems to me that you ought to make ist and Last 
Things 2i sort of annual, gradually enlarging it and keep- 
ing it up to date. It must be of real value to anybody not 
absolutely crystallised into a hard, definite form. But 
either it contains too much, or it is too short. 

For me, you scarcely justify your inclusion of 'meta- 
physics.' Nor do I consider that your metaphysics really 
are metaphysics. Metaphysics are inseparably connected 
with ontological speculation, the perfection of whose 
futility is unmatched by the futility of anything else in the 
universe. Whereas your remarks deal with phenomena. 
No. I will acquit you of metaphysics. 

I shall read it all again. I can only criticise novels. I 
wish I hadn't read the first part of Tono-Bungay ^ so often. 

^ Bennett must be referring to either the manuscript or proofs. 
Tono-Bungay was originally published in the English Review De- 
cember 1908 to March 1909. 


I shall have to read it yet again in order to get the hang of 

the last part. 

We are going to Switzerland (Mont Pelerin, above 

Vevey) for Xmas. We come to Britain in March. I am 

just finishing a Stage Society Play, about the Yellow 

Press.^ ,. 

Yours ever, 

A. B. 



Spade House 
[December 1908] ^^^^^^^ 

Dear Bennett 

Things 2 is very jolly, but not quite so intimate as the 
older model. 

I have you very much on my conscience. Tve a novel 
very much in hand and you know my gasteropodous ^ 
methods of writing. Tve talked about The Old Wives' 
Tale to all sorts of people but I've not written a line any- 
where, rd have liked to. Everyone is reading it and 
everyone praises it except that old fool Colvin ^ who 

^ What the Public Wants, to be produced by the Stage Society 
on 2 May 1909, at the Aldwych Theatre, London. 

^ Things Which Have Interested Me [Third Series], printed 
privately at Burslem. 

^ The gasteropoda are a division of molluscs, including all snails 
and slugs. 

* Sidney Colvin (1845-1927), Keeper of Prints and Drawings, 
British Museum, biographer of Keats, and editor of Robert Louis 
Stevenson's correspondence. 


detects French models and says its dreadfully heartless 
(not like dear R. L. S.). That fool Hueffer^ too isn't doing 
a shout about it in the English Review, I did all I could 
(short of writing it myself) to get the book done for 
number 2, but he's got a discovery of his own, a man 
named Reynolds ^ of about Edwin Pugh's calibre and 
apparently he's giving up the Famed Review to him. 

Well, God give you a Happy New Year and Madame 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



Grand Hotel Belvedere 
7 January 1909 Mont-Pelerin-sur-Vevey 

My dear H. G. 

Many thanks. Someone has been doing some spade- 
work for The Old Wives' Tale^ so I put it down to you. 
I expected it to be an absolute frost, naturally, and it was 
at first. But after about a month it began to sell. It went 
into a modest second edition, and the last I hear is that 
it is still selling regularly. Anyhow, I have had some 

^ Wells and Hueffer were at this time in serious disagreement 
over the financing, editing, and publication of Tono-Bungay in the 
English Review. 

2 Stephen Reynolds (1881-1919), author of A Poor Mans 
House, 1908, a novel about Devon fishermen and other books. 


really pleasing reviews. Of course any article from you 
would have been butter on my bread. I think enough 
has been said about Stephen Reynolds for some time to 
come. But I put him very much higher than Edwin Pugh, 
and I have a great admiration for him. I don't know 
yet about Hueffer, but I'm sure the English Review won't 
last unless he alters it considerably. I've written him an 
A I short story/ which he had the wit to commission, so 
that I will partly forgive him for not trumpeting the book. 
I am informed that my new play is 'simply terrific.' ^ 
Why can't you come over to Switzerland now^ and have 
a time.'* 

Our loves to you both 

Yours ever, 

E. A. B. 

^ "The Matador of the Five Towns," English Review, April 

2 What the Public Wants. 

1909 WELLS TO BENNET 1 63 



Spade House 
[Early April 1909] Sandgate 

Dear Bennett 

Come and have lunch at the Reform Club (Pall Mall) 
at 1.45 on Friday. 

Ever thine 

H. G. 



37 Clarendon Road 
4 April 1909 Putney S. IV, 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

H. G. and I arranged, subject to your ideas on the 
subject, that Marguerite and I should come down to you 
on the 2 1 St (with two toothbrushes) for the night. He 
told me to enter into negotiations with you on the sub- 
ject. And I hereby do. 

Our kindest regards and best wishes. 
Yours sincerely 

Arnold Bennett 



6 April 1909 Spade House 


Dear Bennett 

The Reform Club committee (because of Easter) does 
not meet until the 22nd, after which you'll be a Reform 
'Clubber.' ^ But that will give you a club after the N.L.C.^ 
has expired. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
Your seconder is H. Arthur Jones.^ 
Warmest regards to Madame. 

^ After his lunch with Wells on Friday, 4 April, Bennett noted 
in his Journal^ "I wanted to belong to this club." But Wells's 
attempt was, in this instance, unsuccessful. See letter No. 126, 
October 1912. 

^ National Liberal Club. 

^ Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929), successful playwright of the 




Villa des Nefliers 
II June 1909 Avon SjM 

My dear H. G. 

Now I was just going to write and tell you how The 
W, in the Air ^ had held and impressed me, when I got 
your post card. And couldn't. Still, I was very glad to 
have the p.c. I shall not be content if you do not see 
What the Public IVants, even in Hawtrey's ^ absurd inter- 
pretation of it. If you demand seats, in my name, of 
"Lyston Lyle Esq," at the Royalty Theatre, he is in- 
structed to supply you. Go soon, as I cannot conceive 
that it will run long. You will be able to read the play 
entire in the English Review of July — I am told.^ 
Loves from us both to you both. 


A. B. 

^ The War in the Air, 1908. 

2 Charles Hawtrey, actor and manager. He played James 
Hearn's original part, Sir Charles Morgan, in the Royalty Theatre 
production of the play. 

^ What the Public Wants did appear as a supplement to the July 
number of the English Review. 


I 06 

[July 1909] National Liberal Club 

Dear old Bennett. 

I don't like the growing tendency in my letters to 
break into praise. It is unseemly between great men. I 
feel I don't see enough of you and hence these veracities 
in the place of the old familiar abuse. I took Jane to your 
play last night and cuddled myself with pleasure most of 
the time. Its effect is of being studded with good things. 
Someone (Wm Archer I think) said it was damaged by 
Hawtrey but I don't think so nor does Jane — which is 
better seeing she saw the Sunday night performance. 
He's a "real creation". But your lines are so damned good 
— I who know you am astonished. You are the least 
appreciated man in London. I advise any intelligent in- 
vestor to buy Bennetts for a rise. The only serious objec- 
tion I have to the play (Archer J. agreeing) is that they 
don't make such men in the Five Towns, and that the 
home ought to have been in Kilburn. It seems to me you 
are just a little timid in going to the Five Towns always 
for your homes and domesticities. I throw out the 

Bennett — Wells — who else is there .^ A young poet 
named Steevens^ is said to have arisen in Dublin. We 


are the last of an age otherwise. And by the bye, it may 
interest you to know that that affair of philoprogenitive 
passion isn't over. (You will remember the affair.) 
Interesting and remarkable psychological reactions fol- 
lowed. The two principals appear to have under- 
estimated the web of affections and memories that held 
them together. The husband, a perfectly admirable man, 
being married attempted to play a husband's part — 
(which was asinine of him). Violent emotional storms 
have ensued and there is a separation and I think it will 
be necessary out of common fairness to him to give him 
grounds and have a divorce — and run a country cottage 
in the sight of all mankind. I tell you these things to 
strain your continence, knowing you will tell no one and 
suffer dreadful things not doing so. I have sold Spade 
House and got a delightful house in Church Row Hamp- 
stead for Jane. We shall go there in August I expect. I 
am extremely happy and I have never worked so well. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ James Stephens, whose Insurrections ^ a book of verse, was 
published in 1909. 




17 Church Row 
[20 October 1909] Hampstead^ 

Dear Bennett. 

I can't quite begin The Glimpse ^ yet. I am urged to in 
the enclosed.^ The Taggy referred to is Ellis MacTaggart 
a benighted Hegelian at Cambridge ^ and the letter goes 
on to refer to our child as a different sort of basis al- 
together. I've dipped into the chapter called "A Drama" 
and it doesn't strike me as beautiful a bit — beastly words 
like vermilion — nasty opaque salt of mercury. But since 
I respect both you and M. profoundly I'll do as she 
says and go through it. Are you coming to London soon.'^ 
I want to see you. Beautiful prismatic situations develop 
and dissolve round me and M. and the coarse fact re- 
mains that everything is going very well. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Wells had sold Spade House In May. The family moved into 
17 Church Row, Hampstead, in August 1909. 

^ Bennett's The Glimpse, an Adventure of the Soul, 1909. In his 
autobiography Wells describes the book as "a glimpse into an 
empty cavern in his mind." (II, 628-629.) 

^ Presumably a letter to Wells from M. 

* John M'Taggart Ellis M'Taggart (1866-1925), Fellow of the 
British Academy and of Trinity College, Cambridge. 

1 910 WELLS TO BENNETT 1 69 



17 Church Row 
5 January 19 10 Hampstead 

Dear Bennett. 

God keeps me busy in London just now. Good luck 
to you at Brighton and let us know directly you have 
dates for London again. Perhaps Madam will come to 
dinner on the way back. We'd greatly like to see her. 

Yours ever 

H. G. Wells 


13 March 19 10 Royal York Hotel 

Ans^ but to write V.L. Brighton 

[JVells's note] 
My dear H. G. 

Does Vernon Lee^ live in Florence? Does she know 

anything about me? Would she be a useful person to 

know there? If yes, perhaps you wouldn't mind sending 

^ Pseudonym of Violet Paget (1856-1935), English author and 
art critic, who lived in Italy for most of her life. She had been a 
guest in Wells's home and had written "On Modem Utopias, an 
Open Letter to H. G. Wells," in the Fortnightly Review, December 
1906, a commentary on Wells's A Modern Utopia. 


me a letter of credit to her. We leave here on Friday and 
shall get to Florence at the end of the month. We're sorry 
we haven't seen you. I only went up to London to see a 
Fancy Dress Ball and came back the next afternoon. iVe 
written 100,000 words here in 10 weeks. I expect we shall 
be over in London again in the autumn, as after long in- 
effectual efforts to get me to alter the play I wrote for 
them,^ the Haymarket people have decided to produce 
it as it is. 

Affection to you both 


A. B. 
My new book^ is not important enough to send you 
without a special request. 



17 Church Row 
[Received 4 October 1910] Hampstead 

Dear Bennett 

Why no Clayhanger}^ What have I done? Here is 
everyone talking of Clayhanger and me silent. 

^ The Honeymoon^ a comedy in three acts. The Haymarket 
Theatre later sold the play, without producing it, to J. E. Vedrenne 
and Dennis Eadie, who produced it at the Royalty Theatre, 6 Octo- 
ber 191 1. 

2 Helen with the High Hand, an Idyllic Diversion, 19 10. 

^ September 19 10. 


Which reminds me that old Radford, (Father of 
various daughters you met here) Ernest Radford ^ wants 
to seek you out and see you. His address is Hotel 
d' Orleans, Rue Jacob, Paris. 

Can you give him an appointment. 

Yours ever 

H. G. Wells 



F^i/la des Nefliers 
4 October 1910 Avon-Fontainebleau 

My dear H. G. 

Nothing but a slightly different arrangement this time. 
My immediate relatives copped my English copies, save 2, 
which I keep, and I ordered that American copies should 
be sent to you and a few other select recipients. Then the 
American publication got itself delayed. Hence these 
tears. However, I understand the American edition is 
now out, and you will have your 699 pages in a few days. 
By the way, whatever people may say, and whatever this 
edition may look like, you may take it authoritatively 

^ A lecturer on English architecture and one-time secretary of 
the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He was also a minor poet, 
a member of the Fabian Society, and, from contemporary accounts, 
very much an eccentric. Bennett had met Mrs. Radford and her 
daughters when dining widi the Wellses on 21 December 1909. 


from me that this book is only 160,000 words long, 
40,000 words shorter than The O. W, Tale, 
I write to Eintsl pere and ask him to lunch. 
Our love to you both 


A. B. 
P.S. When is The New M'^ going to appear? I shall take 
care, this time, that the New Age does not make a fool of 



17 Church Row 
[December 19 10] Hampstead 

Dear Bennett. 

The Few Great Minds in the world should react upon 
each other more. I'm going with the whole blessed 
family to Davos for January to luge and suchlike. Why 
not spend your January in Davos or Klosters also? 

Yours ever. 

H. G. 

I have tons to say about Clayhanger for example. 
^ The New Machiavelii, January 191 1. 




59 Rue de Crenelle ^ 
1 7 January 1 9 1 1 Paris 

My dear H. G. 

1 got The New M the day before yesterday, and have 
read the first book and am enthusiastic thereupon. But 
this is not what I am writing about. I am asked to do an 
anti-censorship, anti-puritan article for the English Re- 
view?' Is there anything that you specially think ought to 
be said, or that you want saying.'^ For instance about you. 

Frightfully busy on Hilda Lessways^ if you remember 

Loves to all 

A Bennett 

^ The Bennetts moved into a furnished flat at this address in 
November 19 10. 

2 The article, if Bennett wrote it, never appeared in the English 

^ The sequel to Clayhanger, 191 1. 




Authors^ Club 

2 Whitehall Court, 
19 April 191 1 SW 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

This is disastrous. I have been about and about with- 
out an address and have only just got yours of the 6th. I 
left Paris on the 7th. I can't write to Mrs. Lane as I have 
no feasible address for her, but perhaps you will give me 
one, so that I can apologise. My wife is coming here next 
week, and we expect to stay until June 1 5 th. I have come 
here because through this Club one can get rooms rather 
nicely in "the finest situation in London." A strange 
place! Charles Garvice,^ patting me on the back, has just 
said to me: "The secret of your success, my boy, as of 
every success since Shakespere, is your universal sym- 
pathy." He then told me 6,000,000 copies of his own 
works had been sold, but he is very modest about them. 
If you are in one night after dinner I will come up. You 
can telephone any message: if I am not in, the august 
head-waiter, one Dali, will take it. 

Loves to all 
Yours always 

Arnold Bennett 
^ Prolific English journalist, novelist, and playwright ( 1 883-1 920). 




II May 191 1 2 Whitehall Courts S.IV. 

Ch^re Madame: 

Vous nous ferez grand plaisir en venant diner avec 
nous Vendredi prochain 19 Mai, a 7.30. 

Nous aurons Mr. Turner ^ et Mrs. Belloc-Lowndes.^ 

Nous nous reunirons dans le salon de Timmeuble. 

Bien sincerement a vous 

Marguerite Bennett 



Villa des Nefliers 
29 June 1911 Avon SjM 

My dear Mrs. Wells 

It was impossible for me to call en route. Can I come 
one day next week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or 
Friday, for the night (without ceremonious clothes)? I 

1 Probably Reginald Turner (1872-1938) friend of Oscar Wilde 
and Max Beerbohm. 

2 The novelist (1868- 1947). Her best-known novels are The 
Chink in the Armour (1912) and The Lodger (1913). She was the 
sister of Hilaire Belloc. 


have to go to Paris. There is a train from Paris which 
gets to Pont de I'Arche ^ a Httle before 7. If you are far 
from the station perhaps a carriage could be sent to meet 
me. I should leave the next day at 4 p.m. Very busy. 
With kindest regards to all 

Yours sincerely 
Arnold Bennett 



Villa des Nefliers 
Saturday 3 July 191 1 [Postmark] Avon SjM 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

Many thanks. I shall come Tuesday^ by the train that 
arrives a little before 7. I can't come by the earlier train 
as I have to lunch in Paris. 

Kindest regards 
Yours sincerely 

Arnold Bennett 
LATER Having regard to the Railway disorganization 
down your way, I will come Thursday instead of 


^ The Wellses stayed there from June to October 191 1. 




Villa des Nefliers 

Mardi soir 5 July 191 1 [Postmark] S et M, 

ChSre Madame 

Done, j'arriverai jeudi soir par le train de 6.54. Si c'est 
possible de prendre un train plus tot, je vous tele- 

Toujour votre devoue 

Arnold Bennett 



Villa des Nefliers 
Saturday [8 July 191 1] Avon-Fontainebleau 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

My train ran off the line at Mantes.^ First two coaches 
pitched over. Front part of my coach telescoped, and the 
whole coach smashed. For a few seconds I was in a storm 
of glass, flying doors, and hand-luggage. All over in ten 
seconds. A woman in front part of my coach had her leg 
broken. Having seen what there was to see, I hired an 

^ Nearly twenty years later Bennett used this incident as the 
basis of his novel Accident, 1928, 


auto for 100 frsy and sold 3 places in it for 70 fn and thus 
got to Paris for ^ofrs. only a quarter of an hour late for 
dinner! Still I don't want to be in any more railway 
accidents. The only account that I have seen of the 
accident, in the Figaro, is inaccurate in every detail except 
the number of wounded. 

I don't travel again on the Ouest-Etat for some years 
to come. 

You will let us know which day you are coming here. 
Kind regards to your mother and to Mrs. Bowkett. 
Love from us to the rest 

Yours sincerely 
Arnold Bennett 


Grand Hotel Californie ^ 
17 February 191 2 Cannes 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

Many thanks for your letter. 
Inflammation of the intestines. 
Strict regime. 

^ Bennett had returned from a successful six-weeks tour of 
America in November 191 1. He went to Cannes to await the com- 
pletion of his house at Thorpe-le-Soken. The illness he speaks of 
was later thought to have been undiagnosed typhoid. 


But working. 

Just began the further adventures of Edward Henry 
Machin/ but my joy therein is clouded by the news that 
influenza has reduced you to shadows. Kindly become 
substantial once more. 

I shall be charmed to have the proofs, and to know 
about how long I can keep them. Phillips " of the 
American Mag, a most delightful man, stated with sad 
resignation to me that he had not been able to get any 
corrected proofs out of H.G.^ Or such is my recollection. 
However, I told him how great H.G. was, and he seemed 

Nos sympathies le plus chaudes, 

Arnold Bennett 



Hotel Californie 
20 March 191 2 Cannes 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

1 return the proofs ^ by registered bookpost. I have 
read them with care. I have of course confined my ob- 

^ Hero of The Card, 191 1, and its sequel, The Regent, 1913, 
which Bennett speaks of here. 

2 John S. Phillips, an editor of the American Magazine. 
^ For Marriage, 19 12. 

^ In a letter to a friend, 14 March 1912, Bennett had written: "By 
the way, Wells's new novel. Marriage, of which I have just read the 


servations to misprints, punctuation, points of phrase- 
ology, and sentences of which I absolutely failed to grasp 
the meaning. I daresay H. G. may consider some of my 
criticisms as a proof-reader beneath notice, but having 
regard to his great onslaught, in the novel, on the general 
sloppiness of everything except pure research, I think it 
may be worth his while to consider them. I have had to 
disfigure the proofs with my remarks, as a mere question 
note would not have made my suggestion clear always. 
You can rub them out if the worst comes to the worst, 
as they are all in pencil. 

I had great difficulty in correcting some parts as I was 
too interested in the narrative to fix my mind on H.G.'s 
shortcomings as a writer who knows the details of his 
business. The Labrador episode ought by all the theory of 
chances to have been a failure, but I don't think it is. It 
held me throughout. But then I am an admirer of H. G. — 
probably the best he has. Anyhow I am a thundering 
good proof reader! 

Yours sincerely, 
Arnold Bennett 
P.S. Where I have put in punctuation without a query, I 
think the question is beyond argument. 

proofs, contains more intimate conveyances of the atmosphere of 
married life than anybody has ever achieved before. I am rather 
annoyed as I am about to get the same intimacy in my Clayhanger- 
Hilda book entitled These Twain. These coincidences are distress- 
ing." (Pound, p. 238.) 

19 1 2 BENNETT TO WELLS l8l 



Hotel Calif ornie 
21 March 191 2 Cannes 

Dear father, 

No, they ^ have not got me at alL Under no circum- 
stances would I countenance this grotesque Institution. 
I suppose you never read my deathless article on it in the 
New Age 19 months ago. Go ahead and make a row. 

E. A. B. 

^ The Academic Committee of the Royal Society of Literature 
of the United Kingdom. Wells had received a letter from Edmund 
Gosse on 18 March stating: "I have the great pleasure of telling you 
that you have been elected a member of the Academic Committee, 
a matter on which Henry James and I have long set our hearts." 
Wells had written in the 28 September 191 1 issue of the Eye- Witness 
a satirical article on the Academic Committee, pointing out its 
insignificance in relation to the "broad flow of able writing and 
creative work that is now going on," but seeing some remote 
danger of its forming a core for a committee on the censorship of 




17 Church Row 
[25 March 1912] Hampstead 

My dear Bennett. 

Your corrections are wonderful and precious. You 
have the best mind in Europe (in many respects) and I 
thank you very gratefully. And here is a letter ^ (which 
please return) which will explain why, although I in- 
flexibly won't be elected to that absurd body, I am not 
making a violent assault upon it for its impudence. 

Yours ever fraternally 

H. G. Wells 


Hotel Californie 

27 March 191 2 Cannes 

My dear H. G., 

Many thanks. I return the letter. C*est touchant. 

Mind they aren't too many for you, yet! 

We shall arrive in England on Apl 30th. 


A. B. 

^ Wells enclosed a letter from Henry James, dated 20 March, 
urging him to reconsider his refusal to accept membership of the 

19 1 2 WELLS TO BENNETT 1 83 



Little Easton Rectory 
\Septemher \^iii\ Dunmow^ 

Dear Bennett 

Glad indeed you are going to be almost neighbours.^ 
We're rooting here firmly. Can you lunch with me at the 
Reform Club on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday in 
next week.^ If so, I'll get James ^ to come. He wants 
badly to meet you. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

Royal Society of Literature. For the correspondence between 
Wells and James on this matter, see Henry James and H. G. Wells^ 
edited by Leon Edel and Gordon N. Ray, 1958, pp. 157-164. 

^ In Essex Wells had first acquired Little Easton Rectory as an 
occasional retreat from London, but soon removed his family there, 
changing the name to Easton Glebe. It remained Wells's permanent 
home until 1930. 

2 Bennett was to move into Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken, on 
25 February 19 13. Comarques was an early Queen Anne house on 
the Essex coast. At this time it was being remodelled by Bennett's 
friend E. A. Rickards. 

^ Henry James. But James was ill, and was not to meet Bennett 
until more than two mondis later. See Henry James and H. G. 
Wells, p. 165. 




Little Easton Rectory 
[October 191 2] Dimmow 

My dear Bennett. 

James herewith.^ Let's make it then a foursome and 
bring our wives. Will you.'^ Royal Automobile Friday 

About the Reform you will not get elected if I propose 
you. But I will speak to one or two more generally 
popular persons in the matter. 

Yours ever 
H. G. Wells 

^ Wells no doubt enclosed the letter from Henry James, dated 
18 October 19 12, expressing James's regret at not being able to 
attend the luncheon referred to in letter 125 and also expressing a 
desire to meet Bennett in the near future. See Henry James and 
H. G, Wells, pp. 165-166. 

191 2 BENNETT TO WELLS 1 85 



^ r^ 1 \A St Simon s Avenue 

16 December 1912 

MydearH.G., Putney S.W. 

I return the proofs.^ As before, all suggestions are 
tentative. But when I have made a definite correction 
without querying it, I have assumed that you could not 
possibly contest its propriety. You may go on your way 
rejoicing about this book. It is all right, especially the 
difficult parts. I should judge it to be rather better than 
Marriage — certainly more homogeneous — and about as 
good as The New M; only it contains nothing so uncon- 
vincing as the hero's change of party in The New M. I 
think there are one or two short weak passages — such as 
the page or two in Paris, and a few pages towards the end, 
but naught to speak of. Mary is immense — and so are 
her letters. What is fine about the darned thing, and what 
is fine after your previous 2 or 3 darned things, is the 
generosity and reasonableness of its spirit, — especially the 
generosity. I have never seen this certainly outstanding 
quality praised in any review. Yet there it is plain enough. 

We go to Paris in a few days for 10 days. We expect to 
be at Thorpe-le-Soken about Feb 15 th. Let's know if 
you will be in London during January. 

A. B. 

^ Of The Passionate Friends , 191 3* 




Little Easton Rectory 
{December 191 2] ^ 

My dear a. B. 

Many thanks. Your precisions are wonderful and 
nearly all I have accepted with eager gratitude. But 
Peninsular War is right. I'm glad you like the book, 
which I mistrust myself as the end of a phase. The next 
will be quite different and longer. We are Christmasing 
here and going to Switzerland until early February. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



13 November 1913 ^, 7 c t 

-' ^ -' Tkorpe-Le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

Are you in town on Wednesday afternoon, i9th.^ If 

so, I should like to send you tickets for a really good 

chamber concert ^ at Bechstein Hall. In haste. 

Yours sincerely, 

Arnold Bennett 

^ By Cedric Sharpe, the well-known cellist, and an old friend of 

19 14 BENNETT TO WELLS 1 87 



Yacht Velsa 

" ^ Portoferraio 


I am deeply touched by this mark of your regard. I 

have heard from your young friend, and have written to 

him duly. 

Elba is a divine spot, in a ditto climate. 


A. B. 



'5 -^"^^'915 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

So sorry. I have been away at the Front for over three 
weeks without an address. If it isn't too late I shall be 
very glad indeed to read through the proofs.^ So please 
send them to me. 

We are in extreme health and hope you are. 

Great haste 

Yours sincerely 
Arnold Bennett 

^ Of The Research Magnificent^ 191 5* 



25 July 191 5 Thorpe-k'Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

I sent yesterday the first 240 pages and I hope that they 
have reached you safely. I expect to be able to send the 
remainder in about a week. Of course it is clearly under- 
stood that, with the exception of the correction of a few 
obvious misprints, all my alterations are simply in the 
nature of respectful suggestions. I do not expect to be out 
of bed until Tuesday. I have had another attack of in- 
flammation of the colon, as a result of my visit to the 
French and English lines. 

Yours sincerely 
Arnold Bennett 



I August 191 5 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

I enclose the remainder of the proofs. This novel is 
consistently and thoroughly interesting. I am just 


crawling about again. My work is gravely in arrears. I 
hope to write you soon about coming over. The diffi- 
culty is that our chauffeur is now an armed man, and we 
have to shove ourselves. We have put the big car in store, 
and are contenting ourselves with a Ford. 

Yours sincerely, 
Arnold Bennett 



4 October 191 5 Thorpe-le-Soken 

My DEAR H. G. 

Marguerite can't come as she has arranged to go to 
London on Saturday. But I can, especially as I shall be 
alone and will therefore drive over on Saturday morning 
(I think — if I change to the afternoon I'll let you know). 
I like your remark about the Reform Club. The R. C. 
has been closed for a month and only reopened last 
Friday, so that your attempt to persuade me that you 
have been practically living there during September fails. 
Up to September I regularly attended the said Club on 
Fridays. Many thanks for the inscribed R.M} Have I 

^ The Research Magnificent, 


told you this is a good book? I send you a bookling just 

Our respex to Madam 


A. B. 
P.S. We have been on the eve of coming over for about 
6 weeks. But the day never dawned. 

A. B. 



II October 191 5 Thorpe-le-Soken 

My dear Lady 

I leapt on the Sunday Times, All the indiscretions were 
in it, including the worst, so I suppose all is now over 
between you and H.G.^ I suggest that you both come 
here to make it up again. I have described fully to 
Marguerite my weekend, and she now regrets that she 
did not unscrupulously chuck London and come with me. 
She also wants to know when I have arranged for you 
two to come over here. When have I arranged that for.'^ 
It has to occur, you know, hateful as the prospect must 

^ Probably The Author's Craft, October 191 5. 
^ A careful perusal of the Sunday Times of 10 October 191 5 
yielded no explanation for this allusion. 


be to you. / desire a straight answer to this?- Any week- 
end or any week-middle will suit us. You will not enjoy 
yourselves as much as I did, but you will have to go 
through with it. 

Yours ever 

A. B. 
I arrived at 11.40, and wrote my article this afternoon. 



3 December 191 5 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

1 wish I could.^ But I am going to Manchester on 
Monday and have to write my D.N, ^ article on Sunday. 
Give my love to Frank please. 

Ever yours 

Arnold Bennett 

^ Mrs Wells interjects a note: "Can you reply to him?" At the 
top of the page Wells writes "Monday week i.e. 25th." 

2 In reply to an invitation to spend the weekend at Easton. The 
"Frank" referred to at the end of the note is Frank Richard Wells. 

^ Daily News. 




29 January 191 6 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells 

If you should feel inclined to help in the enclosed con- 
cert/ I should be very much obliged, as I am organising 
it. It is the first concert I have ever handled, and, though 
it promises excellently, it will be the last. 

1 fear hockey is off for the present.^ I am too busy. 

Our affections 

A. B. 

^ At the Haymarket Theatre for the "Wounded Allies Relief 
Committee on 21 February. He noted in his Journal, "This went 
off without a hitch, and I was very glad when it was over. I had no 
particular trouble but I will never organise another." (II, 154.) He 
was on the Executive Committee of the group, to which he devoted 
a great deal of time, attending meetings and assisting with the 
arrangements of a number of fund-raising events, including selling 
books on a stall at a War Fair held at the Caledonian Market on a 
rainy morning. 

2 The week-end hockey at Easton Glebe was an institution, en- 
joyed by friends, and, during the war, by members of the armed 
forces stationed nearby. Frank Swinnerton wrote of Easton week- 
ends, "In winter whole hockey teams would come in chars-a-banc, 
until the lawns were black as with the expulsion of trippers from 
an excursion train," An Autobiography (1936), p. 159. 




26 June 19 1 6 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

It shall be done.^ H. G. told me there was no breath- 
less hurry. 

Yours sincerely, 

Arnold Bennett 



[June 1 91 6] Thorpe-le-Soken 

This book is all right. 

A. B. 
P.S. Unless it goes to pieces at the end. More to follow. 
^ The proofs of Mr. Brltling Sees It Through. 


6 July 19 16 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Herbert, 

Will you be at the Club next Thursday, 13th? If so 
will you lunch with me and Seebohm Rowntree, superin- 
tendent of the "Welfare" Department of Ministry of 

I shall finish your proofs on Saturday. 


A. B. 



8 July 191 6 Thorpe-le-Soken 

My dear Herbert, 

I like this book very much.^ It is extremely original 
and sympathetic, and the scenes that ought to be the best 
are the best. In fact it is an impressive work. (I doubt if 
Direck^ is anything like upon the level of the other 

^ Mr. B riding See It Through, 19 16. 
^ An American visitor at Britling's. 


characters as a creation.) Also as a tract it is jolly fine. 
It would have been even finer if old Brit had made the 
slightest attempt imaginatively to understand the diffi- 
culties of the British Government, or what it did do. If 
he had given to this business a quarter of the skill and 
force which he gives to understanding what it failed to do, 
he would have been liker God. Also his notions about 
the "steely resolution" of the French nation are a bit 
Morning- Postish. I say this because I know it would 
anger him. There is much more steely resolution in 
England than in France. The spirit of Paris has not been 
good. The spirit of the Midi has been rotten. This I 
know of my own knowledge. What has saved France is 
nothing but the accident of first-rate generalship. If the 
Battle of the Marne had been lost there wouldn't have 
been even a semblance of steely resolution in France. 
Even after the Marne every military set-back has been 
instantly followed by a civil crisis. Much more might be 
said on these two points, but old Brit shall not be harried. 


A. B. 
P.S. You will doubtless find some of the corrections 
quite inadmissible. 

They are all simply suggestions. 




[November 19 16] i6a John Street 

Dear Arnold 

Mrs Haden Guest to whom I am giving this letter is one 
of those noosances who get up books for France and 
things. She is late in the field with the nicest of all, a book 
about Belgium, and I have done her some lively pictures, 
of which she will enclose proofs. Her book is called the 
Princess Marie Josefs Childreris Book?- She wants you to 
write a short beautiful letter to the press on behalf of her 
book, which she can have typed and sent out to the press. 
She is a great dear and I like her very much. 
Please do so 

Your affectionate Uncle 
H. G. 

^ Princess Marie Jose's Childreris Book (for the Vestiaire Marie 
Jose, a Society for providing Milk, Food and Clothes to the Babies 
behind the firing line in Flanders), November 19 16. The book 
contains a short story by Wells, "Master Anthony and the Zep- 
pelin," illustrated by the author. 


19 16 BENNETT TO WELLS 1 97 


21 November 19 16 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Marguerite has ventured to give your name as a reference 
to flat-landlords. Thanks. 

Arnold Bennett 


24 May 1917 Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Mrs. Wells, 

Will you come and have lunch with J. C. Squire, 
Elizabeth Asquith and me at il Ristorante del Com- 
mercio, 63 Frith St. Soho, on Wednesday next at 1.30, 
upstairs.^ I shall be very pleased if you will. 

Yours sincerely 
Arnold Bennett 




Ministry of Information 
Norfolk Street 
15 July 1918 Strand, 

My dear H. G., 

A further article by me on the League of Nations will 
appear in the Daily News tomorrow (Tuesday). I hope 
it will suit you. 

Let me remind you that you are dining with me at the 
Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Picadilly, on Wednesday 
night at 8 o'clock. 


A. B. 

19 1 8 WELLS TO BENNETT 1 99 



Crewe House 
16 July 1918 Cur^on Street, IV.i, 

Dear Arnold, 

The article is excellent. 

Yours very sincerely, 

H. G. Wells 



[Typewritten circular, with salutation written in longhand] 

22 Buckingham Gate 
[25 /r//K 1918] S.W,i, 

Dear Arnold 

I am sending you a manifesto of the Aims and Objects 
of the League of Free Nations Association, and I sincerely 
hope that you will be able to see your way to become an 
original member of the Council which is to be the 
governing body of the Association. 

As you know there are so many definitions of what a 
League of Nations is supposed to be and what it is sup- 


posed to do, that we have endeavoured to set forth a basis 
upon which the structure can be built, and to focus all 
shades of public opinion on this vital question. We are 
also anxious to co-operate with kindred movements in 
allied and neutral countries, in order that pressure may be 
brought upon the respective governments to come into 
line before the war is at an end. 

May I express the hope that you will be able to col- 
laborate with us? 

There is no intention on our part to compete with the 
League of Nations Society, or any other Society or 
Organization whose principles embody the ideal we are 
aiming at, which exists for the definite objects set forth in 
the basis of their Constitution. We hope to co-operate 
with them, and there does not appear to be any reason 
why both Societies should not act side by side in this 
matter, and give each other all the mutual help they 
possibly can. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




27 July 1918 

My dear H. G. 

I reply to your circular. I will gladly join the League 
of Free Nations Association. It will, however, be im- 
possible for me to attend the meetings, as I am already 
grossly overworked, I am sending a formal application 
for membership, with a subscription, directly to the 


A. B. 



Easton Glehe^ 
[28 July 191 8] Dunmow 

Dear Arnold 

You do not grasp the honour done you. You have 
been invited to join the Council of the L. of F. N. Assn. 
Please do. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 




Easton Glebe, 
[September 191 8] Dunmow 

Dear Arnold 

Yes. Let's warm Beans his ear.^ Frank knows no 
Russian. 2 hours a week is preposterous. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
Tm writing to Beans. Strongly. 

^ F. W. Sanderson, Headmaster of Oundle School, "who was 
always known to his scholars as *Beans,' but H. G. Wells and A. B. 
called him The Marquis of Beans." (Richard Bennett in Arnold 
Bennett'' s Letters to His Nephew, 1936.) Richard Bennett and 
Wells's sons were attending Oundle at this time. On 9 September 
19 1 8 Sanderson replied to a letter from Wells in which Wells urged 
strongly that Gyp be given at least six hours of Russian a week. 
Wells, who was extremely interested in Sanderson's new methods 
and ideas in education, published a biography. The Story of a Great 
Schoolmaster (1924), shortly after Sanderson's sudden death. 
Sanderson is also the prototype of Job Huss in The Undying Fire, 



22 February 1919 17 Berkeley IV. i. 

My dear H. G., 

I've been looking for you for days. So has all the 
Reform Club. I have been 'approached' with a request 
to 'approach' you on the matter of the correspondence 
between you and Henry James apropos of Boon} Ad- 
mirers and fanatics of H. J. regard his letters in this affair 
as the greatest statement of his artistic 'case' that he ever 
gave. In your place, if it pleased them, I would let them 
print the whole thing, without suppressing a phrase ; and 
in fact there is only one short phase (about 'bad man- 
ners') to which any objection could be taken.^ If they 
printed his letters (with the above-indicated suppression), 
and your replies, the matter would be perfect. Can't you 
agree to this, and content the vast H. J. world? 


A. B. 

^ Bennett may well have been approached by Percy Lubbock, 
who was editing James's letters. 

^ The phrase Bennett refers to occurs in the first sentence of 
James's letter to Wells on 10 July 191 5: "I am bound to tell you 
that I don't think your letter makes out any sort of case for the 
bad manners of Boon, so far as your indulgence in them at the 
expense of your poor old H.J. is concerned — I say 'your' simply 
because he has been yours, in the most liberal, continual, sacrificial, 
the most admiring and abounding critical way, ever since he began 
to know your writings: as to which you have had copious testi- 
mony." See Henry James and H. G. Wells, p. 265. 




52 vSr James s Court 
[25 February 1919.] Buckingham Gate^ S,IV, I. 

My dear Arnold, 

There is too much diplomacy about the James affair. 
Why don't the people come to me directly instead of 
pulHng you in to the affair? I wrote carelessly in that 
correspondence, feeling I was dealing with an old man 
and being only anxious to propitiate him — without too 
much waste of epistolary effort on my part. The publica- 
tion of the correspondence therefore as it stands might 
entirely misrepresent my attitude towards our "art." I 
kept no copy of my letters and have never given the 
matter ten minutes thought since. 

Anyhow for various reasons I want to meet this Henry 
James cult face to face. There are several ragged ends 
want clearing and clipping in the affair. 

So just ask whoever it is to deal direcdy with me. 

Yours ever 
H. G. Wells 

1 9 19 WELLS TO BENNETT 20 5 



Easton Glehe^ 
[October 19 19] Dunmow 

Dear Arnold 

That chap Cummings (Barbellion) ^ is on his beam 
ends financially and hasn't long to live. I think it would 
be kind if some of us were to guarantee his weekly ex- 
penses until he dies. He spends nearly £^^ a week. He 
has to have a male attendant at £3.10.0. Tm suggesting 
that I pay 25/. a week to the end, that you do something 
of the same sort (you're not so deeply in it as I am), that 
Marsh does the like and perhaps one or two others and 
that Swinnerton is made treasurer and cashier. Will you 
come in.'^ 

Yours ever 

H. G. 
If so send a cheque to Swinny and tell him how much 
per week to pay out. 

^ Bruce Frederick Cummings (.1889-1919), pseudonym W. N. P. 
Barbellion, a naturalist and journalist. Wells wrote the introduc- 
tion to his Journal of a Disappointed Man, published in 19 17 by 
Chatto & Windus, to whom Frank Swinnerton was reader. 




Easton Glebe^ 
\ November 1919I r^ 

Dear Arnold 

This is honour indeed. I have been at the Outline of 
History for more than a year of fanatical toil. 

It is a thing of about 400,000 words. We shall never 
get on with our public life until we have a better historical 
foundation. I am trying to give something clear, true 
and right. 

I am sending some uncorrected galleys and early 
illustrations in another envelope. This will show you the 
design and scale. Don't read em, just glance over them, 
but please read the introduction. I will try to get to 
the club on Tuesday a litde later than 1.15. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



12 December 19 19 

Dear H. G. 

I am still waiting for the free copies of the History. I 
make it a point of honour not to buy them. It may 


interest you to know that the opinion on the thing in 
Cambridge, where I have just been, is distinctly favour- 

By the way, a new Society for the study of education 
is being started under what seem to me to be very good 
auspices. It is being started by undergraduates at the said 
University, and you are wanted to inaugurate the thing 
by an appearance and a speech at the first meeting, which 
is to be important. I was requested to discover from you 
whether you would entertain the idea. I fancy that at the 
present stage you would get such a reception as no author 
has ever had from his contemporaries in this stone town 
built on a fen. Please let me know. 


A. B. 



12B George Street 
22 January 1920 Hanover Square W. i?- 

Dear Lady, 

The more I read of H.G.'s Outline the more staggered 
I am by it. It is about the most useful thing of the kind 

^ A maisonette into which the Bennetts moved shortly after the 
war, although he retained Comarques until 1922. 


ever done, and it is jolly well done. Full of imagination, 
and the facts assembled and handled in a masterly manner. 
But this letter is to tell you that I do think the proof- 
reading is very faulty. I don't care to seem to be always 
insisting to H. G. about details. I have no exaggerated 
idea of their importance, and I can keep the perspective 
as well as most folks. But these details Aave importance, 
and someone ought to see to them; because H. G. never 
will. Quite apart from numerous easily avoided verbal 
inelegancies, for which H. G. doesn't care one damn (but 
ought), there are positive mistakes, as in such phrases 
such as "as big or bigger than", and acute grammatical 
slips such as singular verbs after collective nouns which 
have a plural possessive pronoun. And so on. My im- 
pression is that the carelessnesses seem to come in 
patches. I would do the proofs myself, if he wanted, but 
I can't undertake a 500,000 word business. 

I don't think the footnotes by friends ought to be 
signed only with initials, unless a table of footnote 
writers with full names is given at the beginning. And 
the famous phrase 'op. cit' (which many plain readers will 
not understand) ought never to be used for the same 
work on more than one page. The work ought to be re- 
cited on every page on which it is referred to. 

How the fellow did the book in the time fair passes me. 
I cannot get over it. It's a life work. 


A. B. 




II April 1()20 rr.1 J c 1 

^ ^ Thorpe-le-Soken 

Dear Lady Jane, 

Will you and H.G. be at Speech Day? I shall, but I 
don't think Marguerite will. Under the orders of 
Richard ^ I have written to a Mrs. Carmichael, from whom 
(he says) he has retained a room for me. Is this where you 
stay.'^ I shall particularly object to eating by myself or 
with perfect strangers during my brief stay. Seldom have 
visitors come so far to stay so short as your two sons did 
the other day. They seemed to be in great form. I am 
\ way through Part XL^ He seems to have a fearful down 
on the Romans, but I rather think he is right. The 
Roman stuff is perhaps the best up to now. It is indeed 
fine. Especially Cato, Marius, and Co. It is a jolly sight 
more than a vulgarisation (French sound and sense) of 


A. B. 
P.S. The fellow's speech at the Newnes' dinner was A.i.^ 

^ Richard Bennett. The Speech Day was held at Oundle School 
on 6 June. 

^ The Outline of History was issued in twenty-four fortnightly 
parts, November 1919-November 1920, by George Newnes Ltd. 

^ Newnes gave a dinner on 26 March in honour of The Outline of 
History, at which Wells spoke. 



[Manuscript article by Bennett which does not appear to 
have been published] 

Mr. H. G. Wells 

Herbert George Wells has now been prominently be- 
fore the reading public of the world for a quarter of a 
century. He began as a biologist; at the moment he 
stands forth as a universal historian; he has had dazzling 
successes as a prophet, but even so great a professor of 
divination as himself would hesitate to prophesy what 
will be his line of business ten years hence. His two chief 
characteristics are an eager willingness to learn — and to 
learn in public — and a tremendous, inexhaustible energy. 
His education has been conducted in the sight of nations, 
and in teaching others his most conspicuous feat has been 
to teach himself. Tennyson foresaw him when he sang 
that men rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to 
higher things. As for his marvellous initiative energy, it 
is equally manifest in all his activities. Those who know 
him know that he is a terrific ball-player, using generally 
a game which he personally invented, but not averse from 
so traditional a pastime as hockey; that he will sweat his 
companions all day, argue with them all the evening on 
any and every political, philosophical, physiological and 



artistic question, put them to bed in collapse, and come 
down bright the next morning with the news that he has 
done several hours creative work in the middle of the 
night. To tell the briefness of the period in which he 
wrote his history of the world from 5,000,000 B.C. to 
A.D. 1920, in half a million words, would be to invite in- 
credulity. It is conceivable that The Outline of History 
may dwarf all his other books, by the immensity of its 
scope and the mighty firmness of its grasp: for this 
reason we make no detailed reference to his numerous 
novels and other sociological productions. Mr. Wells 
admits — nay, proclaims — that he is highly dissatisfied 
with humanity and more than anything else wants to 
change it. Other and not lesser artists are in love with 
humanity and have a conviction that it cannot be changed.^ 
But Mr. Wells would probably count himself as a preacher 
first and an artist second. That his achievements in both 
fields are astounding and admirable will be disputed by 

^ Cf. Joseph Conrad's words as reported in Hugh Walpole's 
journal on 23 January 191 8: "His [Conrad's] final quarrel with 
Wells was: 'The difference between us, Wells, is fundamental. 
You don't care for humanity but think they are to be improved. 
I love humanity but know they are not!'" {Hugh IValpole: A 
Biographyhy Rupert Hart-Davis, 1952, p. 168.) 




12B George St. 
31 May 1920 Hanover Sq. IV.i 

Dear Lady Jane, 

This is very thoughtful of you, and I am obliged. It is 
obvious that the breakfast must live in the memory of 
ten prefects. I will arrange commensurately. I will tell 
Mistress McM. to lay covers for 14. 

It is illustrative of the superstitious faith of boys in the 
arrival of food that I had only heard of this breakfast in 
the vaguest way. I certainly had not been consulted. 

I vote we stay till Monday. 

It is understood between H. G. and me that we travel 
down to Bishops Stortford on Saturday by the 12 train 
together. But his estimate that we shall arrive at Oundle 
by 3 seems to me wildly optimistic. 

Yours ever 

A. B. 




15 September 1920 Thorpe-le-Soken 

My dear H. G. 

Much obliged for the portly volume. I have kept 
regularly up to date with the parts, and am now in Part 
22. Such reviews as I have seen are chiefly footling. I 
have never read a work with a greater sense of the 
achievement of the thing. In fact for the last 12 parts I 
have been in a state of perpetual amazement. The affair 
is handled; it is done; it is accomplished; the perspective 
is maintained, and there is an omnipresent feeling of 
masterliness. Anybody who knows what a work is, and 
what it means in labour, presence of mind, cerebration, 
and grit — especially on this immense scale — will regard 
congratulations as extremely inadequate. The book is a 
majestic success, both brilliant and solid. I regret the 
negligences of writing, but attach only the slightest im- 
portance to them. I think you were rather casual over the 
Renaissance; but I haven't much else in the way of 
animadversion. Nobody else on earth could have done 
the thing one tenth as well as you have done it. You have 
supplied a want, and made powerfully for righteousness. 


A. B. 




Easton Glehe^ 
[October 1920] Dunmow 

Dear E. A. B. 

Your corrections gratefully accepted. The book ^ will 
be completely reprinted (with considerable correction) 
and with Horrabin's illustrations only by Cassells and 
sold for 18/- or /^i in one nice blue bound volume. 

Note the statement that there is a Palaeolithic swastika 
is a howler.^ The drawing in question was probably not 
earlier than 800 B.C. or at most 1000 B.C. 

H. G. 

^ The Outline of History, 1920. 

2 In The Outline of History Wells had written, "The swastika is 
found in Palaeolithic bone drawings." (I, 84.) In the ninth revision 
of the edition Wells speaks of in this letter {The Outline of History, 
1937, p. 140), the drawing remains, but there is no reference to 
Paleolithic bone drawings. 




iiB George Street 
8 December 1920 Hanover Square^ JVa, 

Dear Lady Jane, 

The whole Jane world (extensive, orbicular) has been 
shaken to its depths by this affair of yours. Happily it 
now has reason to recover, and is recovering, and I am 
once more getting the limelight. Before your unhappy 
appearance in the pathological theatre, I was attracting a 
certain amount of attention by means of pyorrhea, high 
frequency electrical treatment, microbic injections, den- 
tists, specialists, etc. But you wiped me off the map in one 
day. However, I think I can beat you in permanence of 
sickliness, and I am doubly glad of it. I saw H. G. 
yesterday. Dr. Shufflebotham,^ who was there, pre- 
dicted that he would have to stay at home today, and lo! 
so it is. He is immensely proud of the fact that he can 
make out cheques and pay bills without your help. In 
fact the entire club is much bored by his interminable 
recitals of feats in the cheque and payment line. You will 
have a horrible skein to unravel when you return to 

^ Dr. Frank Shufillebotham, Bennett's friend and personal 


management. I hear you will be back for Christmas. It 
is the best news. We went to Edith SitwelFs reception 
last night. Crowds of poets, many of whom sat on the 
floor. Still, not tedious. The St. John Ervines were by 
standly. At least, she was. We are just beginning to 
know them. They are my sort. Tonight, Swedish ballet. 
Next week Actors Orphanage Fancy Dress Ball, C. 
Garden. Haven't been to one for ten years. This last 
week you have doubtless felt within you a peculiar but 
enheartening z/zfluence. You didn't know it, but it was 
the effluence of my blessing. I hope to see you frisking 
soon. Marguerite sends her love. Me too. 

Yours ever 

A. B. 

1 92 1 WELLS TO BENNETT 217 



Claridges Hotel 

Avenue des Champs- Ely sees 
[21 January 1921] Paris 

My dear Arnold 

Tm en route for Rome ^ and so far I've done very well 
— a beautiful crossing and Paris like summer. I think I 
shall get through to Amalfi all right and there a warm 
hearted secretary will look after me night and day. I can't 
help thinking of your motherly impulse in writing to me. 
It showed a kindness and concern. And generally the 
dear old Reform has been like a band of elder brothers 
over my temporary hymenic indiscretions. 

I'm really going to do nothing unpleasant or laborious 
for two good months or more. Then I will come back 
and be a credit to you. 

And meanwhile dear Arnold 
I am 

Yours very gratefully 

H. G. 

^ Wells was beginning a two months' trip on the continent to 
recover from the illness mentioned in the previous letter. 




12B George Street 
23 May 1 92 1 Hanover Square^ W, I. 

Dear H. G. 

Thanks for letting me see this pleasing document. The 
facts are that the discussion between Ray ^ and myself (in 

^ Ray Long, editor of Cosmopolitan Magaiine. The document 
Bennett refers to follows, with Wells's comments. 

[Typewritten] Savoy Hotel 

18 May 1921 ^.C.2 

Mr. H. G. Wells 

Eastern Gleb [^/c] 
Dunmow, Essex 

Dear Mr. Wells, 

I am taking the liberty of writing to you from over here because 
Mr. Thorsen, business manager of Cosmopolitan^ has suggested that 
in these days, when our affairs are so closely intertwined with those 
of the various European countries, you would be interested in 
knowing how the literary affairs on the two sides of the Atlantic 
are dove-tailing. 

I have been making one of my regular trips to this side, because 
I share with Mr. Thorsen the view that the Editor of a magazine like 
Cosmopolitan is the real circulation manager; since we offer no 
premiums or other baits for circulation, the material the Editor 
puts in the publication is the sole factor which determines its sale. 
And the only way to get the worthwhile material is constandy to 

1 92 1 BENNETT TO WELLS 219 

the presence of Pinker and Swinnerton) turned solely on 
the question of several stories, and the fellow gave me a 
free hand. Nothing else happened and his account is an 
ingenious falsification. I have done him 4 stories of which 

go after it. I am prepared to travel any distance to get what I think 
Cosmopolitan readers deserve. 

Perhaps I can show you exactly what I mean by telling you about 
Arnold Bennett. He is, as you know, one of the most graceful and 
brilliant of living writers. But some of the stories he had delivered 
to us recently seemed cold and stilted. I might have written him 
a dozen letters without getting at the cause. But, over our coffee 
at the Arts Club, it came out. 

"Your enormous circulation frightens me," he said. "When 
I think of writing for a million and a quarter buyers of a maga- 
zine — five million readers — I get stage fright." 

[In the margin beside the preceding paragraph Wells writes: "Arnold! 
Do we allow this sort of thing.^"] 

I explained to him that the reason Americans like his work is 
because it is his, and he got the point immediately. And now he's 
gone away to write real Arnold Bennett stories for Cosmo readers. 

Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and — ■ 
unless signs fail — England's next Premier, has the feeling of the 
American audience. [Marginal comment by Wells: "This to me."] 
This may be because his mother was an American, but more likely 
it is because he has travelled extensively in the States and made a 
real study of us. It was amazing to me last Saturday, when we 
lunched and spent the afternoon at his home, to see how instinc- 
tively he selected from some material he read me, the portions 
which would be of greatest interest to Americans. 

I have arranged, since coming over here, for Cosmopolitan to add 
Robert Hichens, author of The Garden of Allah, to its list of dis- 
tinguished English authors; we are to have first look at Joseph 
Conrad's novel of the Napoleonic period; Mrs. C. N. Williamson 
is searching for more articles as interesting as her word picture of 

220 BENNETT TO WELLS 1 92 1 

3 are A I. I wouldn't defend the 4th. I have 2 to do, and 
in doing them I shall take him at his word, and there will 
be trouble. 


A. B. 


[JVestern Union Cablegram\ 

Arlington Hotel^ Washington 
II November 1921 

Well it's great stuffs continue. 


Monte Carlo; Cynthia Stockley is working on a novel of South 
Africa for us — and a dozen or more exceptional features are in the 

An Editor has to be on the job much as a salesman has to keep 
out among his customers. That's why I'm over here — "calling on 
the trade," as Peter B. Kyne would say. And so far it has been a 
very successful trip. From here I go to Paris to see Robert W. 
Service, and arrange for more of those great poems of his; then 
home to the Cosmopolitan and little, old New York. 

Sincerely yours 

Ray Long 

^ Washington and the Hope of Peace, 1922. Wells had accepted 
an offer to attend the Washington Conference as the special corre- 
spondent of the New York World. The twenty-nine articles in the 
book were printed in leading American and British newspapers 
from 7 November to 20 December 1921. Bennett probably read 




12.B George Street 
17 November 1922 Hanover Square^ IV, i. 

Dear Jane 

Nothing could suit me better, and I will come with the 
greatest pleasure and gratitude — unless (extremely im- 
probably) I am called out of England. If this undesirable 
call should come I should know a considerable time in 

I was dining at honest John Galsworthy's last night. 
My God! He understands the art of life, that fellow does! 
I always thought my Due di Montebello champagne was 
unequalled in the wide world: but his G. H. Mumm's 

the articles in the Daily Mail. On the same date Frank Swinnerton 
wrote to Mrs Wells: 

"Me and A. B. 
Both agree 

That you ought to ask A. B. and me 
As a spree 

To dinner (merely us three) 
At yout F - L - A - T. 
Verbum sat. sapient / 
We think the articles of H. G. 
From Washington Citee 
Are deserving of the highest degree 
(Or whatever it be) 
Of celebritee." 


Cordon Rouge 191 1 was marvellous, I had too much/ 
but am working as usual this morning. 

After my brief conversation with H. G. yesterday I 
have called off the secretaryship. 

Yours ever 

A. B. 



75 Cadogan Square ^ 
25 May 1923 S,IF. I. 

My dear Jane, 

Many thanks, but I shall join the yacht on the 31st for 
the summer. So that with regret I must refuse. 

No I have not in the least disappeared. I am revolving 
just as usual. In order to see F.S.^ I have had to go and 

^ According to Dorothy Cheston Bennett a statement such as 
this meant, at the most, two glasses. 

2 Bennett moved to this "rather noble thing in houses" in 
December 1922. 

^ Frank Swinnerton had recently moved to Old Tokefield, 
Cranleigh, Surrey, a cottage converted from three small seven- 
teenth-century cottages and modernized. He wrote to Mrs Wells 
on 31 May, "A. B. has been down to see the cottage, and bumped 
his head. That taught him! He looked all over the place with a 
critical eye, and I heard him mutter ' Very interesting to see other 
people's ideas.' " 


see him in his rural wigwam. Do you think he would 
have done as much? I do not think! 

Ever yours 

A. B. 
P.S. Men Like Gods ^ is very fine. And this is the view of 
all its readers that I have met with. AB 
P.S. No. I had not forgotten. Are you coming to the 
yacht this season.^ Or not.'^ AB 



4, Whitehall Court 

{Flat 120) 
I November 1923 S.W. i. 

Dear Arnold 

1 have to join the chorus. Riceyman Steps ^ is a great 
book. I hate to go back on an old friend but I think it is 
as good or better than The Old Wives Tale. It's simpler 
and shorter but one does not judge books by weight. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ 1923. But Bennett wrote to Dorothy Cheston Bennett: "I 
have received D. H. Lawrence's new stories which appear to be 
very fine, and Wells's new novel \^Men Like Gods\ of which I have 
my doubts." Arnold Bennett^ a Portrait Done at Home (1935), 
p. 177. 

2 1923. 




5 November 1923 4, Whitehall Court 

Beloved Arnold 

Let's gossip somewhere. I leave the choice to you. 
The thing is that it will be pleasant to talk together again. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 


21 November 1923 75, Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

Look here; this is very disturbing, and ought to be 
seen to.^ All pleasure places are more or less "off" and 
rainy in December. Cintra is in a hollow of the hills be- 
tween the Estorils. Marvellous in spring, but not much 
till then. Very mild, though. Wonderful view from the 
castle over the town. Trains: A train. Country south- 

^ Wells was ill and he was also exhausted by his second un- 
successful political campaign as Labour candidate for London 
University. For his description of his feeling of discontent and 
futility, see Experiment in Autobiography, (II, 737 ff.) 


ward hilly; northward flat. All public services abso- 
lutely rotten. I think you might get bored there, but you 
wouldn't be cold there. If I were you I should go by 
steamer direct to South Italy; or, if that is too far, to 
Toulon, and go into the hills north of there. This is 
surely the least fatiguing way of travel for an infirm per- 
son. If you decide on Cintra the Booth Line is the line, 
to Lisbon. (I'll tell George Booth to cosset you if you 
like.) Small steamers, but very well run. St. Jean 
Estoril near the mouth of the Tagus is very agreeable as 
a centre but all the Estorils are a bit spoilt by the archi- 
tecture of profiteers — totally fantastic and horrid. Devil- 
ish cold in the mornings. But sun. 

What's up with Tangier or Tunis? Nothing except the 
French ships that take you across the Mediterranean. 

When you come through London let me know and I 
hope you'll let people look after you. 

Yours ever anxious 

A. B. 




Easton Glebe^ 
21 November 1923 Dunmow 

Dear Arnold. 

Thanks for the tips. I think I may go on to Madeira 
straight and back via Lisbon. I've got a hell of a cold on 
the top of a wheezy lung but nothing excessively grave. 
I shall try and do a long promised meeting next week and 
then warm up before I start. I may stick it here over 
Xmas. I shall go alone because R. is having the time 
of her life in America and I don't want to interrupt it. 

Are there people to talk to round and about Lisbon.^ 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



23 November 1923 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G., 

Why the meeting? It must be a strain on the heart, and 
if you have got anything that predisposes to pneumonia 
you want all the heart you can summon. I am seriously 


told that "Yahdil" is a specific for pneumonia and such 
things. Yes, there are people to talk to at Lisbon. The 
Jaynes, for instance. He is a son of the Bishop of 
Chester, and partner in one of the chief importing firms 
there, and in close touch with the Booth Line. Mrs. 
Jayne is an agreeable piece, to whom you would be meat 
and drink. There is also a fellow named Edgar Prestage, 
who used to be on the Morning Post. I can fix these 
things up for you if you like. Also George Booth. I've 
never been to Madeira, but I'm told its a very lugubrious 
place to stay at. You would want to fit in your steamers, 
and the sooner the better. I think these steamers are 
usually pretty full. Consider me at your disposition in 
all things. 


A. B. 



18 December 1923 75 Cadogan Square 

My DEAR Jane, 

Of course this is to thank you very much for your kind 

care: which I do. But really it's to annoy you by telling 

you that I have had a letter, and a long letter, and an 

intimate letter full of strange details, from your Swinney.^ 

^ Frank Swinnerton went to the United States in November 
1923 for a three-months lecture tour. 




I had to "go behind" last night after the show.^ 
Home at 12:45, ^^^ ^ was scarce in bed when someone 

rang me upi 

Neuralgia all gone. Fatigue omnipresent. 
Elizabeth's ball tonight! 
Good God! 

Love to all 


A. B. 


14 May 1924 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

I beg to state that The Dream ^ has held me through- 
out. (I didn't read it before, as I was travelling in Spain 
with Max B.^ He, however, did read it in trains and it 
held him too, and he spoke very highly of it.) I disagree 
with the elite who say that there is too much framework. 
On the contrary I think there isn't enough and that what 

1 Probably at the Kingsway Theatre, where Dorothy Cheston 
was playing Viola in Twelfth Night. In his Journal Bennett noted 
on 27 December: "Kingsway Theatre. 'Twelfth Night.' ... I en- 
joyed it more than the other two performances which I had seen. 
Then we went behind to Dorothy Cheston's room, and heard 
about things." 

^ The Dream, 1924, first printed serially in Nash's and Pall Mall 
Magazine, October 1923 to May 1924. 

^ William Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook. 


there is isn't complex enough. I say naught of the super- 
eUte who have discovered that the book would be better 
without any framework at all! Good God! My boy, this 
is a very good and a disturbing book, as to which I am 
enthusiastic. (So are others.) And may God keep us all! 
It is about time you and I met. And I think Swinny 
might meet us too. He is very interesting and funny 
about U.S.A., and not spoilt by his triumphs. Love to all. 


A. B. 


I June 1924 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G., 

Well, 2 unfortunates have been pushed out of the stalls 
into the dress circle for you. The tickets will await you 
at the box-office; but there is bound to be a great crush at 
the box-office before the performance, and if I were you 
I should send up for them in advance. You will have to 
pay for them. Drury Lane is run by a "Board." ^ I have 
had to pay for some of my own seats. Please understand 
that this play is merely a tactful attempt to break with 
Drury Lane traditions and to seduce the Board. The 

^ The play referred to here is A London Life, written by Bennett 
in collaboration with Edward Knoblock, which turned out to be 
a failure. 


latter part of the attempt has already failed. Not a single 
member of the board (except Dean) ^ believes in the play, 
and one of them is so certain of failure that he has 
resigned in advance. 


A. B. 



Easton Glebe 
20 October 1924 Dunmow 

Dear Arnold 

I have been reading (with admiration and delight) in 
Elsie and the Child?' This morning I found in my press 
cuttings this. I am amused. Have you ever met X.Y.? 
She does not like "Last Love." For sheer unadulterated 
skill 'The Paper Cap' makes me bow. You are the 
master craftsman. There is no one like you. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Basil Dean, joint managing director of the Theatre Royal, 
Drury Lane 1924-25, and producer oi A London Life. 

^ Elsie and the Child^ a tale of Riceyman Steps, and other Stories^ 
1924. The titles mentioned later in the letter are stories in this 
volume. "Last Love" concerns a spinster of thirty-nine who falls 
in love with a man of twenty-five. "The Paper Cap" is the story 
of a wealthy bachelor who finds that even a yacht cannot protect 
him from the vulgarity of London Society. 



23 October 1924 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

This is good news to me, and I rejoice (humbly). I 
know X. Y. She now has a complex — result of the death 
of her fiance in the war. She is drying up, and I am sorry 
for her. She was probably always a cat. I remember that 
she said some laudatory things, among a lot of slanging, 
in a review of one of my books in Time and Tide. Some 
readers weighed in with abuse of her for giving me any 
praise. Whereupon she withdrew her praise, saying she 
hadn't meant it. I am always fighting against the proverb: 
"All women are alike." But there is a damned lot of truth 
in it. 

McBride, Lankester and Salter are my men.^ 

Sorry you can't come tonight. 

A. B. 
P.S. Your letter was addressed "78" and took 3 days to 
reach me. 

^ Probably Ernest William MacBride (1866-1940), eminent 
British zoologist. Sir Arthur (later Lord) Salter (b. 1881), an 
economist, was at this time a member of the advisory council of the 
League of Nations. Sir Edwin Ray Lankester, as we have noted 
previously, was, like MacBride, a leading zoologist. 



9 September 1925 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

I don't know where you are. Temple^ told me he 
thought you had left England.^ I've read C. A.'s Father^ 
for the copy of which my thanksgivings. I think it is a 
very fine moral allegory or parable, and full of meat for 
people who want everything to be done in a fortnight. I 
might call it a bit over-cruel, but I don't mind that. We 
don't have J enough cruelty in novels. C. A. is very 
good (and very naughty). Curious mixture of romance 
and realism! I think the book will hold people. 

\One paragraph omitted by request of the Public Trustee,^ 


A. B. 

^ Richmond Temple, at this time publicity director for the 
Savoy Hotel chain. 

^ After Wells's retreat from London in January 1924, he travelled 
on the Continent, finally establishing a second home at Lou 
Bastidon near Grasse, where he spent most of the following three 

^ Wells's Christina Alberta s Father, 1925. 


17 September 1925 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear Jane, 

This was very disturbing news about Frank.^ I hadn't 
the least idea he'd been ill. Remember me to him. I sup- 
pose there is no sort of doubt, now, that he has come 
through. But these things are terrible while they are on. 
You have all my retrospective sympathy. I was once 
nearly dead myself once, and very annoyed about it. 

I noticed strangely few misprints in C As Pa^ though 
I had my malicious eye open for them. I like Preemby 
better than Lewisham, Kipps or Mr. Polly. He is a very 
distinguishedly-conceived character. The book is urbane. 

Well, I like Frank much: but then I am much attached 
to the whole H. G. family. Thank H. G. for his letter, and 
yourself for your kind message to Dorothy. She is 34, 
and a very hefty wench. 

Ever yours, 

A. B. 

^ Wells's son, Frank Richard. 


1 80 


Winter Palace 

Menton^ A M 
I March 1926 France 

My sweet Jane, 

This is most nice of you and H. G. Only we shan't be 
in London until March 21st anyhow, and moreover 
Dorothy will not be in a very going-out mood then. So 
we couldn't accept. I shall be 'about' after Mch 21st or so. 
I think we shall stay at Claridges for a week or so until 
Dorothy goes into retirement. I hope you'll call. Good 
about H. G.'s novel.^ I finished my long novel Jan 26th ^ 
and I began another one shortly afterwards and have 
written one-sixth of it already.^ Dorothy is very well. 
Me too. We leave here next Sabbath and go by easy 
stages to Paris and thence to Calais and London. She 
must travel slowly. All is well, except that my youngest 
brother is dying of consumption in North Wales. He is 
49 or so. 

1 Probably The World of William Clissold, published in three 
volumes, 1926. 

^ Lord Raingo^ 1926. 

^ Probably The Strange Vanguard, a fantasia, published in book 
form in 1928. 


We have had, on the whole, simply marvellous weather 
(8 weeks in Rome). Dorothy conveyeth love unto you. 

Ever yours 

A. B. 
P.S. Respex to the Franklet. 



I June 1926 Sussex 

Dear H. G. 

I know nothing except that Pinker wrote and asked 
me if I could do a 3 or 4,000 word synopsis for a payment 
(presumably on account of royalties) of £2,000 on de- 
livery. I said I would. This was last Friday. I haven't 
even had the draft contract yet. 

We are expecting you and Jane to lunch or tea here 


A. B. 



27 October 1926 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G., 

Thy letter is most impressive and appreciated, and I 
am full of satisfaction therein and thank thee. I meant to 
unfold myself the other night about Clissold 11?- I was, 
as thou knowest, firmly held and much impressed by 
Clissold L But Clissold II is decidedly better. The 
women are very well done indeed and it is all keyed up 
more, livelier, more resilient than C /, which nevertheless 
had the qualities denoted by the above adjectives. This is 
an original novel. My novels never are. 

Thine ever 

A. B. 


16 November 1926 75 Cadogan Square 

My sweet Jane, 

I'd meant to send you a note far far sooner, but God 
willed otherwise. Like yours, my life is terrible — and 
^ The World of William Clissold^ volume IL 


like Dorothy's.^ All I wanted to say was that our week- 
end with you was very agreeable and that you made your 
good-nature and kindliness y^// — and that I was captious 
as usual. What a pity I am like that, isn't it? Easton G. 
is a great tonic. We think of going to Cortino (ci-devant 
Austrian, now Italian). But nothing is sure. The A. 
Huxleys are there and will be there for a year. I hear 
good of it. We should go between Xmas and the N. Y. 

Ever your devoted 

A. B. 



[21 July 1927] 

I shall be at the Malthusian Dinner on the 26th and 
motoring home on the morning of the 27th. Very de- 
lighted if I can give you a lift down. 

H. G. 

^ Bennett was extremely busy at this time. He was very active 
on the Board of Management of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith; 
he was planning a novel, Accident; he was attending rehearsals of 
Riceyman Steps at the Ambassadors' Theatre. All this was in addi- 
tion to his normal schedule of social and journalistic activities. 




Royal Victoria Hotel 
30 July 1927 St Leonards-on-Sea 

My DEAR H. G., 

I enclose the reply from Roche.^ All I will say is that 
I talked with him for 2 hours, that he made a very 
favorable impression on me, and that despite the un- 
avoidable 'convulsion' etc., if I was in your place I should 
try him. The treatment is purely medicinal. In a general 
confession, he told me his charges when I saw him. I 
think he has a very large practice; he lives very modestly, 
and I should say that he is saving a lot of money. I should 
be surprised if he isn't a Jew. 

If you decide not to try him, please return his letter to 
me, and I will suitably deal with it. 

Our loves to Jane 


A. B. 

^ Raphael Roche, who claimed to have a cure, or at least a very 
effective palliative, for cancer and other serious diseases. Roche 
was being consulted on behalf of Mrs Wells, who was dying of 




Royal Victoria Hotel 
o y I St Leonards-on-Sea 

Dear H. G. 

Yes, of course. I quite appreciate your position. But 
mine also must be clear. Assuming that I ask Roche for 
satisfactory evidence, he gives it, shall you consult him? 
I don't want to make him feel awkward. 

Loves to Jane 

A. B. 



Royal Victoria Hotel 
II Amust 1927 ^ _ 1 r> 

<=> ^ ' St Leonards-on-Sea 

My dear H. G. 

I enclose a letter from Roche.^ I assume that you will 

follow this up. 

^ Love to Jane 


A. B. 

^ Bennett encloses a letter from Roche which gives the name and 
address of the brother of a woman wliom Roche's Science of Curative 
Medicinehzid kept alive, Roche claims, for two or three years after her 
doctor had predicted immediate death from cancer. In a marginal 
note Wells directs his secretary to send a letter to the brother. 




Hotel Adlon 
14 September 1927 Berlin 

My dear Jane, 

Instead of coming to see you I went to Berlin with 
Beaverbrook, Diana Cooper, and Venetia Montague.^ 
And here I am, after a mad 4 days. I'm starting home 
tomorrow. We came by a Hamburg-America Hner, — 
Southampton-Cuxhaven, and we return by a Hamburg- 
American Hner Cuxhaven-Bologne. Great fun. Next 
week I hope to come and see you. Dorothy is so com- 
pletely absorbed in her Court Theatre scheme that she 
could not leave London for one day.^ 

Ever your devoted 

A. B. 

^ This party also included Lord Castlerosse. Lady Diana Cooper, 
as Lady Diana Manners, had appeared as the Madonna in Max Rein- 
hardt's The Miracle. Venetia Montagu was The Hon. Mrs Edwin 

^ The Bennetts and Theodore Komisarjevsky had formed Sloane 
Productions Co. Ltd to produce plays at the Court Theatre. The 
second play was Mr. Prohack^ produced by Dorothy Cheston 
Bennett, who also acted in it. It ran from 16 November 1927 to 
7 January 1928, when the lease was up and no other theatre was 





27 September 1927 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

I wrote to Page ^ on Sunday, as his attendances at the 
Reform are irregular. However, he came yesterday and 
I was there in case, and he at once agreed. He said he 
assumed he would see and approve the form beforehand: 
but I had already assured him of this in my letter. He 
said: "I am very old, and the emotion may be too much 
for me." On this point I comforted him. He said he 
would write to you. In case he doesn't his address is 
Woodcote, Godalming. Let me know if I can be useful 
in any way. 


A. B. 

^ T. E. Page (1850-1936), classical scholar, teacher, editor and 
political critic, noted for his commanding personality and, on 
special occasions, his oratory. He delivered the address, prepared 
by Wells, at Mrs Wells's funeral on 10 October 1927. 


22 November K^irj 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

A week or two before he died Charlie Masterman^ 
wrote a pencil memorandum (I've seen it) in which he 
suggested that in case of death or insanity certain of his 
friends (you among them) might be asked to consider 
the question of the education of his children. There are 
three children: Margaret 17, Neville 15, and Dorothy 13. 
First two said to have much talent. 

A close connection of the family, Reginald Bray (son 
of late Lord Bray) with a reputation for practical sagacity 
and knowledge of affairs, has gone into the matter, and he 
estimates that if about ;ir4,ooo were raised now, it would 
suffice to finish the education of all three children in the 
manner Charlie strongly desired. The fund would be put 
into an ad hoc trust. 

Do you feel like contributing? There are 8 or 10 

Mrs. Masterman will have just enough to live on (about 

^ C. F. G. Masterman (i 873-1 927), former Liberal Cabinet 
minister. When he was dying he told his wife, "If you're really in 
a hole, go to 'A. B.' He's the one." (Pound, p. 325.) 


£}')0 p. a., it is hoped) provided she earns something by 
her pen, as she will. 

I've had a long talk with her. 

Hommages a Madame.^ 


A. B. 



20 December 1927 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G., 

The Charles affair is now in order and the money all 
promised. Will you kindly therefore weigh in with the 
amount you suggested? I shall be grateful. 


A. B. 



28 December \()2.'j 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G. 

Many thanks for the cheque. I enclose formal receipt. 

I will let you know very soon about my coming down. 

I cannot decide until some theatrical business is settled. 


A. B. 
^ Odette Keun. 



Received of Mr. H. G. Wells the sum of Fifty Pounds 
contribution to the Masterman Educational Trust Fund. 

Arnold Bennett 
28 February 1927 


I February 1928 75 Cadogan Square 

Dear H. G. 

Is it true that Madame Odette is ill? I want to know, 
as I am very much concerned for you. 




28 June 1928 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear H. G., 

In great haste. Just preparing to flit. I had already 
signed the letter and returned it when your communica- 
tion came. I think that there can be no doubt that the 
Government has been remiss in this matter. As for 


Gorell, of course he only signs because he is now chair- 
man of the Authors' Society.^ 

In returning the letter to Thring I complained of the 
composition of the same. If he does not do something 
about that I will rebel. I will also say to him that I have 
only signed on the understanding that the other people 
he mentioned to me all signed. But you cannot possibly 
keep Gorell out of it. Indeed he ought to sign. 

I return Thring's letter to you. 


A. B. 



614 St. Ermins 
5 October 1928 [Postmark] Westminster 

Mysterious letter from an unknown correspondent. 
[Enclosure^ H. G. 

It was a dispicable thing you did a few months ago. 
Henry. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bennett many 
years ago at Clevedon Somerset.^ 

^ The reason for this complaint by Wells against the Authors* 
Society is obscure. "Wells apparently had thought Lord Gorell was 
attempting to use his office as chairman of the society to enhance 
his literary prestige. G. Herbert Thring was secretary of die 
Authors' Society. 

2 Apparently a "crank" letter. There is no record of the "di- 
spicable thing" referred to. 




614 St. Ermins 
24 October 1928 Westminster 

Dear Arnold. 

I see your serial in the Film Weekly, I have a dispute 
arising about the custom of the trade and the pubUca- 
tion of film synopses. Is this serial a "synopsis" .'^ Is your 
publication of it as a serial entirely independent of the 
cinema film transaction.'^ There seems some slight danger 
that synopses written by us may be published as serials 
without our consent and to the detriment of legitimate 

Yours ever 

H. G. 


25 October 1928 

My dear H. G., 

The publication of Piccadilly is entirely independent 
of the film transaction, as I kept all the publishing rights 
except the right to publish a synopsis not exceeding 2000 


words. My scenario is 16,000 words. I am, however, 
having a row with the Film Weekly editor this very day 
because he has completely concealed the fact that the 
thing is a film-scenario, and is starting it as my "new 
story". I may add a postscript after I have seen the 


A. B. 
P.S. I have seen him and he has given in, and is to state 
in each future instalment that it is the scenario of a film 
now being produced by Dupont. 



Lou Pidou^ 

Saint Mathieu 
6 May 1929 Grasse, A.-M. 

Dear Arnold 

1 like The Religious Interregnum " because it is you, but 

I don't agree for a moment about the Ethics of Jesus. I 

don't believe in non-resistance and I found the whole code 

unstimulating and inconsistent [ink blot] ( What a fountain 

pen and what blotting paper!) Ethics of meek manners 

and economic inactivity (consider the lilies) with the 

^ Wells had moved into Lou Pidou from Lou Bastidon in die 
spring of 1927. 

2 1929. 


smug satisfaction of knowing what happened to Dives 
in the back of one's mind. No. Give me magnanimity 
but not non-resistance to evil. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 


19 October 1929 75 Cadogan Square 

Dear H. G., 

I am very sorry that it is quite impossible for me to 
come to your dinner. All I have to say to you now is that 
I share the views generally prevailing among members of 
the Editorial Board of the Realist} In my opinion the 
Editorial Board has done its work very well indeed. The 
members have given a considerable amount of time to 
the enterprise, and some of them have written articles at 
prices far below the value of those articles in the market. 

^ The Realist, A Journal of Scientific Humanism, began monthly 
publication with Major Archibald Church as general editor in 
April 1929, and continued until January 1930. The editorial board 
included Wells, Bennett, Harold J. Laski, Aldous and Julian 
Huxley, and Rebecca West. As early as July, however, the maga- 
zine ran into financial difficulty. The editor and editorial board 
believed that they had received a commitment from Lord Melchett 
(Alfred Moritz Mond), Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries 
Ltd., for financial backing and management for a period of at least 
two years. This aid was not forthcoming, however, and the maga- 
zine ceased publication after ten issues. 


That would have been perfectly all right if the financial 
side of the affair had been properly managed. It is un- 
necessary to criticise in detail the activities of the Business 
Board. And I would not say that the majority of the 
members of the Business Board are to blame. The results 
of the activities of the Business Board are notorious. 
Obligations have not been met. Contributors and mem- 
bers of the staff have not been paid, and members of the 
Editorial Board have received angry and abusive letters 
from these creditors. The good name of the members of 
the Editorial Board has been seriously compromised. At 
any rate I know that mine has. Members of the Editorial 
Board went into the Realist in the belief and on the 
assurance that the resources and the business methods 
of a great business organisation were behind it. They 
have been deceived. Neither the resources nor the 
methods of the big organisation have been forthcoming, 
and there appears to be no sign of their forthcoming. 
Letters have not been answered. Appeals have been 
ignored. Bills have been left unpaid, and chaos reigns. 
To argue that the Editorial Board has nothing to do with 
the business side would be preposterous.^ The editorial 
and business sides are inseparable. Without the name of 
Lord Melchett the Realist could not have been started at 
all. Lord Melchett has probably had no active part what- 
ever in the affair. He may be ignorant of the present 

^ Handwritten note by Wells: "I don't agree as regards 


State of affairs. In any case I think that he ought to be 
plainly informed of what the present state of affairs is. 
I am in favour of the most drastic action. 


A. B. 



I February 1930 75 Cadogan Square 

My dear Herbert George, 

I hear that Jo Davidson is going to meet you and do 
your bust.^ This is merely to certify that he is a good 
friend of mine, and I anticipate that you will like him. 
His wife too is A i, but invalidish. I am still struggling 
with my long book,^ which has been rather snowed under 
by Dorothy's new (successful) revival of Milestones. 
You try and write a book while your mate is producing a 
play of yours! And see! 

Hommages affectueux a Madame Odette 


A. B. 

^ George Doran, of Doubleday, Doran & Co., commissioned 
the American sculptor Jo Davidson to make busts of Wells, Ben- 
nett and ten other English authors "for the perfectly legitimate 
purposes of a fresh presentation of your work and you to the great 
public in America." (Doran to Wells, 14 December 1929.) 
Davidson went down to Grasse for the sittings in February 1930. 
The plaster bust was completed and photographed but apparently 
never cast in bronze. ^ Imperial Palace. 




Villa Aurora 

64 A Boulevard D' Italie 
10 February 1930 Monte Carlo 

Dear Arnold, 

You know how these things happen and just what 
weight to attach to them.^ 

And I am yours ever, 

H. G. with love from Odette. 

^ Dear Mr. Bennett, 

My new book of reminiscences As I Knew Them will be out 
on the 28 Feb: and no doubt the review copies will be delivered a 
week earlier (Hutchinson's). 

I am asking "H. G." — with whom I lunched at Lou Pidou the 
other day, to put in a good word for me with you, because what 
you say in the Evening Standard simply makes a book. 

They are only sketches of people I have known, and it doesn't 
pretend to be "superior" in any way. Max Beerbohm gives the 
book his blessing but he hasn't read it! 

Yours very sincerely 

Ella Hepworth Dixon 




17 February 1930 75 Cadogan Square 

Mr Arnold Bennett has much pleasure in accepting 
Mr. H. G. Wells's kind invitation for Friday March 7th 
at 8 o'clock. 



Lou Pidou 

Saint Mathieu 
28 February 1930 Grasse, A.-M, 

Dear E. A. B. 

This rather hard-minded young man has been known 
to me for years.^ I think this is not bad plain description 
of a social atmosphere. Anyhow he begs me to send it to 
you and as I've written him a word of praise myself, I can 
hardly refuse. 

Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Wells is sending Bennett a novel called Dear England by Eric 
N. Simons. In a letter to Wells, 20 February, Simons wrote: "You 
were good enough to offer to send a copy of my book to Arnold 
Bennett with a personal note. I hope A. B. will like it. I have taken 
the liberty of inscribing it to him," 



10 March 1930 75 Cadogan Square 

My DEAR H. G. 

For your information I enclose copy of a letter which 
I have today sent to the Chairman of the Society of 

Yours ever 

A. B. 
P.S. The 'personal postscript* referred to in my letter 
to Gorell was written in Gorell's own hand, and ran as 
follows: "I might add that we have every hope of settling 
by arbitration the unfortunate dispute in question." 

A. B. 



614 St, Ermins 
II March 1930 Westminster 

Dear Arnold. 

Just the chastening words required. Many thanks for 
bothering about this case — and relieving my bother. 

Yours ever 

H. G. W. 
^ Appendix C, p. 277. 




614 St. Ermins 
27 March 1930 Westminster 

Dear Arnold 

Touching it is to read over those letters.^ What a good 
friendship it has been! What a good friend you have 
been! I've sent them all on to Geoffrey West, who will 
be found dead under his accumulations 'of material/ God 
knows what he will make of it all! 

Yours ever 

H. G. 



47 Chiltern Court 

Clarence Gate 
25 September 1930 N,JV.i 

Dear Arnold 

Can you lunch with me here on Friday 3rd? Please. 

At 1. 15. ,. 

' Yours ever 

H. G. 

^ Wells is apparently referring to his own letters to Bennett. 
Geoffrey West used Wells's letters to Bennett in his biography of 
Weils (1930), but no letters from Bennett to Wells, 




124 Quai D^Auteuil 

Paris XVI 
7 October 1930 

Arnold you are a dear. You are the best friend I've 
ever had. This may colour my vision. I don't think 
it does. We are also contemporary writers and that alone 
ought to keep us clear headed about each other. But this 
big book of yours seems to me a really great book.^ I've 
read it with much the same surprise and delight that I felt 
about The Old Wives Tale, It's amazingly complete. 
It's your complete conquest of a world you've raided time 
after time — not always to my satisfaction. It's an im- 
mense picture of a social phase and there is not a character 
in it that isn't freshly observed true to type and indivi- 
dual — so far as I can check you. Gracie I thought began 
a little too splendid but that comes all right in the 
ensemble. I agree with the thesis of the increasing 
"secondariness" of women. I've tried that myself in 
Clissold and The Secret Places of the Heart?' The women 

^ Imperial Palace^ I930- 

2 In both The World of William Clissold (1926) and The Secret 
Places of the Heart (1922) Wells's protagonists find women able to 
support, but not partake of, a dedicated man's life-work. Social and 
technological advances — protection of the young, household con- 
veniences, for example — have intensified the "secondariness" of 
the great majority of women, by relieving them of their traditional 
duties, ahhough Wells sees in the future a select class of highly 


won't like you. You get something of the opposite feel- 
ing in Harriet Hume: ^ the essential fact of the story is 
the same. May Flower ^ do his duty by you. 

Yours ever, 

H. G. 



15 November 1930 97 Chiltern Court ^ 

My dear H. G. 

I return your key herewith. All our thanks. Dorothy 

is very grateful to you, and she was more comfortable up 

there than she would have been anywhere else. She was 

exhausted before she came here and had been complaining 

of sleeplessness for weeks. Also she is now very worried 

about her part, which she took against my advice.^ The 

gifted women sharing the work and aspirations of equally gifted 
men. In Imperial Palace Evelyn Orcham finds the beautiful and 
intelligent Grade Savott unwilling to share his love for her with his 
dedication to his hotel. The similarity between the books is a broad 
one, however. Evelyn Orcham has little of the mystic consecration 
of William Clissold or Sir Richmond Hardy. 

^ By Rebecca West, published in 1926. Harriet Hume, to over- 
simplify, represents the good and the altruistic in the life of Arnold 
Conderex. In turning his back on her for worldly success in poli- 
tics, he brings about his own moral destruction. 

^ Newman Flower, of Cassell & Company, who published 
Imperial Palace. 

^ The Bennetts moved here from 75 Cadogan Square in Octo- 
ber 1930. 

* Dorothy Cheston Bennett had a minor part, that of Miss 
Cecelia Flinders, in The Man from Blankleys by F. Anstey, which 


producing is rotten and was bound to be. Her mother 
died this morning at 10.55. 


A. B. 


17 February 1931 97 Chiltern Court 

Dear Mr. Wells, 

Mr. Arnold Bennett is still too ill to see any correspond- 
ence, but I read your card to him and he asks me to thank 
you for writing and sends his love to you both. 

Mr. Bennett does not know it, but he has typhoid and not 
influenza. Only one or two people are being told what 
the illness really is, as the doctors do not want Mr. Bennett 
to know, and it has been kept out of the press. He is 
slightly better today, and the doctors were very pleased 
with him this morning. It will be about another fortnight 
before there is any definite improvement, and he is of 
course forbidden all visitors.^ 

Yours faithfully 

Winifred Nerney 


was revived at the Fortune Theatre on 26 November 1930. It was 
the initial production of the People's Theatre movement, designed 
to provide London witli good plays at popular prices. 

^ Arnold Bennett died at Chiltern Court on 27 March 193 1. 




"The Invisible Man" 

Like most of Mr. H. J. \sic\ Wells's novels and stories, 
this tale is based upon an Idea — the Idea that a man by a 
scientific process can make himself invisible. The Idea is 
not a new one — I think I have met with it several times 
before — but it is worked with an ingenuity, a realism, an 
inevitableness, which no previous worker in the field of 
"grotesque romance," has ever approached, and which 
surpasses in some respects all Mr. Wells's former efforts. 
The strength of Mr. Wells lies in the fact diat he is not 
only a scientist, but a most talented student of character, 
especially quaint character. He will not only ingeniously 
describe for you a scientific miracle, but he will set down 
that miracle in the midst of a country village, sketching 
with excellent humour the inn-landlady, the blacksmith, 
the chemist's apprentice, the blacksmith, \sic\ the doctor, 
and all the other persons whom the miracle affects. He 
attacks you before and behind, and the result is that you 
are compelled to yield absolutely to his weird spells. 

The Invisible Man thought he was going to do great 
things when he de visualised himself (he did, in fact, 



terrorise a whole district), but he soon found his sad 
error, and his story is one of failure, growing more 
pathetic and grimmer as it proceeds; the last few pages 
are deep tragedy, grotesque but genuine. The theme is 
developed in a masterly manner. The history of the man's 
first hunt in London for clothes and a mask wherewith to 
hide his invisibility, is a farce dreadful in its significance, 
but this is nothing to the naked, desperate tragedy of his 
last struggle against visible mankind. Indeed, the latter 
half of this book is pure sorrow. The invisible man is no 
longer grotesque, but human. One completely loses 
sight of the merely wonderful aspect of the phenomena in 
watching the dire pathos of his loneliness in a peopled 
world. Mr. Wells has achieved poetry. 

Although the book contains the best work the author 
has done, it is not free from slight blemish. Mr. Wells 
seems to be losing his affectionate care for the minutiae of 
style, a surprising lapse in a man trained under W. E. 
Henley. Thus one finds: "he was contemplate^, trying 
on a pair of boots." "The ones he had were a very com- 
fortable fit." There is also a split infinitive. Moreover, 
Mr. Wells seems actually to have overlooked a scientific 
point. If the man was invisible his eyelids must have been 
transparent, and his eyes, without their natural shield, 
must speedily have become useless from simple irritation. 
This difficulty ought to have been got over. These things 
are of course trifles, but they deserve attention. 

Woman, No. 405 (29 September 1897), p. 9. 
R 2 




^^The aim and the test and the justification of the scientific 
process is prophecy ^ 

The prophet whose Anticipations have so profoundly 
impressed thoughtful people that no less serious a person 
than Mr. William Archer has proposed in a London news- 
paper that he should be endowed with an annual income 
on condition of continuing to prophesy, has hitherto 
somewhat suffered, in the public estimate, under the dis- 
advantage of being wrongly labelled. It is a fact that his 
work is at least as diverse as that of any living prose- 
writer. In the seven years since he ascended into the 
literary firmament he has given forth "scientific ro- 
mances" such as The Time Machine^ The Invisible Man^ 
The Island of Doctor Moreau^ The War of the Worlds^ 
When the Sleeper Wakes^ and The First Men in the Moon; 
satiric fantasias, such as The Wonderful Visit and The Sea 
Lady; a naturalistic romance, in The Wheels of Chance; a 
realistic novel of modern life, in Love and Mr, Lewisham; 
a couple of volumes of sketches and essays; about half a 
hundred "strange stories," in all veins, from that of Poe 
to that of Guy de Maupassant; and finally the aforesaid 
Anticipations^ which are as a lamp to the feet of the 



twentieth century. Nevertheless, and despite all this, if 
you mention the name of H. G. Wells to the man in the 
street, he is fairly sure to exclaim, *'Oh, yes, the disciple 
of Jules Verne." Even critics who think to render the 
acme of praise call him "the English Jules Verne." And 
critics who wish to patronize refer to his ''pseudo- 
scientific romances." 

Now, I may usefully begin to define Mr. Wells by 
showing what he is not. He is not the English Jules Verne; 
he does not belong to the vast Jules Verne school; and 
his scientific romances are not pseudo-scientific. It con- 
veniently happens that both Jules Verne and Mr. Wells 
have travelled to the moon, and therefore I will come 
down to particulars by contrasting the famous From the 
Earth to the Moon and its sequel Around the Moon^ with 
Mr. Wells's First Men in the Moon. Jules Verne, by the 
way, did not invent the moon as a place of celestial re- 
sort; Jean Baudoin, Cyrano de Bergerac, Fontenelle and 
Edgar Allan Poe had been there before him. In Jules 
Verne's lunar romance, the note of farcical humour is 
struck at the commencement and it sounds with in- 
creasing mirth to the very end. His city of Baltimore is a 
farcical city; his Yankees, Impey Barbicane and J. T. 
Maston, are uproarious puppets of the vaudeville stage; 
even his Frenchman, Michel Ardan, is a "type" of the 
broadest. His Gun Club is magnificently farcical. You 
will remember how, at the notorious mass-meeting of 
thousands of savants at 21 Union Square, the president's 


chair, "supported by a carved gun-carriage, was modelled 
upon the ponderous proportions of a thirty-two-inch 
mortar. It was pointed at an angle of ninety degrees, and 
suspended upon trunions, so that the president could 
balance himself upon it as upon a rocking-chair, a very 
agreeable fact in the hot weather"; and how the inkstand 
was made out of a gun, and order was kept by means of a 
bell that gave a "report equal to that of a revolver"; and 
how at the conclusion of his speech the orator, overcome 
with "emotion, sat down and applied himself to a huge 
plate of sandwiches." Jules Verne troubles but little 
about science. He talks with naive and large satisfaction 
about "the immutable laws of mechanics," but the im- 
mutable laws of mechanics are only dragged into the 
story here and there to give it a fictitious sanction. We 
find, for instance, the secretary "rapidly tracing a few 
algebraical formulae upon paper, among which n^ and x^ 
frequently appeared." The immutable laws of mechanics 
are no longer immutable when the projectile, full of air, 
is opened to emit the dead dog into spatial vacuum and 
practically no air escapes; nor are they absolutely change- 
less when the rockets are fired to give impetus by their 
recoil; nor when a thermometer is hung out on a string 
to measure an interstellar frostiness of 140° Centigrade 
below zero. Moreover, Jules Verne's airy argonauts do 
not achieve the moon; had they done so, they could 
never have returned to tell the tale. They circle round 
what the author in a Hugoesque mood calls the Queen of 


Night; and that detail alone serves to illustrate Jules 
Verne's propensity to shirk serious scientific problems. 
In saying this, my aim is, not to depreciate Jules Verne, 
but simply to differentiate him from Mr. Wells. From the 
Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon are delightful 
and indeed unique books. They exhibit an extraordinary 
gift of narrative; a free and fantastic grace of style, and a 
rich, broad humour which no imitator has ever ap- 
proached. They are entirely delicious. But they live by 
their humour and verve and not at all by their illusion of 
reality or their dexterous handling of the immutable laws 
of mechanics. They never convince — nothing in them 
convinces, from the casting of the gun hundreds of feet 
long, to the returning projectile's final splash which 
breaks the bowsprit of the Susquehanna. They do not 
convince; they divert. When we look back upon the 
books, it is episodes such as Barbicana's acceptance of the 
wager, or the wrecking of the Baltimore theatre where a 
foolish manager had put on Much Ado about Nothings 
that we recollect, not the scientific descriptions of the 

The great difference between Jules Verne and Mr. Wells 
is that the latter was trained in scientific methods of 
thought, while the former was not. Before Jules Verne 
took to romances, he wrote operatic libretti. Before Mr. 
Wells took to romances, he was a pupil of Huxley's at the 
Royal College of Science; he graduated at London Uni- 
versity witli first-class honours in science; and his first 


literary production, if I mistake not, was a text-book of 
biology. Those who prefix "pseudo" to the scientific 
part of Mr. Wells's novels are not the men of science. On 
the contrary, one may pleasandy observe the experts of 
Nature^ a scientific organ of unrivalled authority, dis- 
cussing the gravitational phenomena of The First Men in 
the Moon, with the aid of diagrams, and admitting that 
Mr. Wells has the law on his side. The qualities of The 
First Men in the Moon are fourfold. There is first the 
mere human psychology. We begin with two human 
beings, Mr. Cavor the inventor, and Mr. Bedford the 
narrator. They are real persons, realistically described, 
and whether Mr. Cavor stands abashed before the Grand 
Lunar, or Mr. Bedford floats alone in infinite space, 
neither of them once loses his individuality or ceases to 
act or think in a perfectly credible and convincing way. 
Secondly, there is the scientific machinery of the narra- 
tive, always brilliantly invented, lucidly set forth, and 
certainly not yet impugned by science. Thirdly, there is 
the graphic, picturesque side of the affair, as examples of 
which I may refer to the splendid sunrise on the moon, 
the terrible lunar night, and that really wonderful in- 
stance of close creative thought, the exposition of the air- 
currents through the caverns of the moon. Fourthly, and 
to my mind most important, there is what I must call, for 
lack of a better term, the philosophic quality, that quality 
which is fundamental in all Mr. Wells's work, and which 
here is principally active in the invention of the natural 


history and the social organization of the moon. 
"Naturally," says Bedford — and we should mark that 
"naturally," for it discloses the true bent of Mr. Wells's 
mind — "naturally, as living beings our interest centres 
far more upon the strange community of lunar insects in 
which Cavor was living than upon the mere physical 
condition of their world." 

It is impossible not to perceive in Mr. Wells's powerful 
and sinister projection of the lunar world a deeply satiric 
comment upon this our earthly epoch of specialization. 
Among the Selenites, it will be remembered, a race 
distantly resembling mankind, specialization was carried 
to the final degree. "Every citizen knows his place. He 
is born to that place, and the elaborate discipline of train- 
ing and education and surgery he undergoes fits him at 
last so completely to it that he has neither ideas nor organs 
for any purpose beyond it." Some Selenites were all 
brain, others all limbs. Some could do nothing but re- 
member (living histories and encyclopedias); others 
could only carry; others could only analogize; still others 
could only draw. Thus Phi-oo's broken-English de- 
scription of the artist: "Eat little — drink little — draw. 
Love draw. No other thing. Hate all who not draw like 
him. Angry. Hate all who draw like him better. Hate 
most people. Hate all who not think all world for to 
draw. Angry. M'm. All things mean nothing to him — 
only draw. He like you . . . if you understand. . . . New 
thing to draw. Ugly — striking. Eh.^" And this more 


awesome and pathetic passage from Cavor's Marconi 
message to earth: "I came upon a number of young 
Selenites confined in jars from which only the fore-Umbs 
protruded, who were being compressed to become 
machine-minders of a special sort. The extended 'hand' 
in this highly developed system of technical education is 
stimulated by irritants and nourished by injection, while 
the rest of the body is starved. . . It is quite unreasonable, 
I know, but such glimpses of the educational methods of 
these beings affected me disagreeably. I hope, however, 
that may pass off, and I may be able to see more of this 
aspect of their wonderful social order. That wretched- 
looking hand-tentacle sticking out of its jar seemed to 
have a sort of limp appeal for lost possibilities; it haunts 
me still, although, of course, it is really in the end a far 
more humane proceeding than our earthly method of 
leaving children to grow into human beings and then 
making machines of them.'' 

Here, in the guise of romance, is a serious criticism of 
life, and this sober philosophic spirit decked in the 
picturesque colours of fantasy pervades all the latter part 
of the book, growing more and more impressive until it 
reaches its culmination in the sublime apparition of the 
Grand Lunar, that calm and supreme pure Intelligence who 
was so disturbed by Cavor's account of our incredibly 
ridiculous Earth that he killed the traveller, in order to 
prevent any organized invasion of the moon from this 
terrene ball of lust, bloodshed and the Absurd. 


Having dissipated, I hope, the Jules Verne theory of 
Mr. Wells's ancestry, and incidentally examined his latest 
and best "scientific romance," I may proceed to a more 
general consideration of his work. In the year 1895, 
besides The Time Machine^ which made his reputation, 
Mr. Wells, as if to indicate at once the various lines on 
which he would develop, published a volume of sketches, 
a volume of short stories, and that extraordinary fantastic 
irony. The Wonderful Visit, which many people regard 
as the most perfect and delightful thing he has yet accom- 
plished. Touching the last first, it may be said that The 
Wonderful Visit, together with its successor in the same 
kind. The Sea Lady, stands a little apart from the main 
body of the author's productions. But in the record of 
the sojourn of the angel in the convention-ridden village, 
and of the mermaid in the convention-ridden seaside 
resort, are apparent the moral and imaginative qualities 
which have enabled Mr. Wells to deal so effectively with 
themes conceived on a much grander scale. This moral 
and this imaginative quality are really two sides of one 
gift — the gift of seeing things afresh, as though no one 
had ever seen them before, a gift of being able to forget 
all labels, preconceptions and formulae devised and in- 
vented by other people, of approaching the investigation 
of phenomena with senses absolutely virginal. It is the 
peculiar attribute of the artist; it should be, but often is 
not, the peculiar attribute of the moralist. Mr. Wells the 
artist and Mr. Wells the moralist (I scarcely know which is 


paramount) possess it in an abnormal degree. Once the 
angel arrives in the village, that village ceases to be a 
village and becomes a concatenation of inexplicable 
phenomena — inexplicable not only to the angel, but also 
to the good vicar who endeavours to explain them. To 
the angel's reiterated "Why.^ why.^ why.^" there is no 
answer save the irrational, "Because it has always been 
so," "Because people have agreed that it shall be so," 
"Because it would never do to alter it." After the angel 
has perambulated the village, and especially after he has 
played the violin at Lady Hammergallow's party, the 
reader is overcome with a disconcerting and blinding 
vision of things as they actually are, and he sees suddenly 
how much of beauty and joy and sweet reasonableness 
humanity loses by its habit of clinging to the past instead 
of reaching forward to the future. The most illuminating 
part of the book is the vicar's long and poignant reply to 
the angel's remark: "This life of yours — I'm still in the 
dark about it. How do you begin .^" I will quote briefly 
from the end of it: — 

"And the other people here — how and why is too long 
a story — have made me a kind of chorus to their lives. 
They bring their little pink babies to me and I have to 
say a name and some other things over each new pink 
baby. And when the children have grown to be youths 
and maidens, they come again and are confirmed. You 
will understand that better later. Then before they may 
join in couples and have little pink babies of their own. 


they must come again and hear me read out of a book. 
They would be outcast, and no other maiden would 
speak to the maiden who had a little pink baby without I 
had read over her for twenty minutes out of my book. 
It's a necessary thing, as you will see, odd as it may seem 
to you. And afterward when they are falling to pieces, I 
try and persuade them of a strange world in which I 
scarcely believe myself, where life is altogether different 
from what they have had — or desire. And in the end, I 
bury them, and read out of my book to those who will 
presently follow into the unknown land. I stand at the 
beginning, and at the zenith, and at the setting of their 
lives. And on every seventh day, I who am a man my- 
self, I who see no further than they do, talk to them of the 
Hfe to come — the life of which we know nothing, if such 
a life there be. And slowly I drop to pieces amidst my 

"What a strange Hfe!" said the angel. 

"Yes," said the vicar, "what a strange life! But the 
thing that makes it strange to me is new. I had taken it as 
a matter of course until you came into my life." 

/ had taken it as a matter of course ! That is precisely 
the attitude of which Mr. Wells's attitude is the antipodes. 
With him, nothing is of course, and every one who con- 
verses with him at any length finds this out first. Under 
all the wit, the humour, the pathos, the wayward beauty 
of The Wonderful Visit may be perceived this firm and 
continuous intention — to criticize the social fabric, to 


demand of each part of it the reason for its existence, and 
in default of a reply, to laugh it out of existence. 

The Wheels of Chance is a quasi-satiric romance from 
which the supernatural element is excluded. Its hero, Mr. 
Hoopdriver, the draper's assistant who issued forth on a 
bicycle tour, fell in with a maid, stole a bicycle, and duly 
returned to his counter, is the best-loved of all Mr. Wells's 
creations. But I can merely mention the book here as the 
precursor of the realistic novel, Love and Mr. Lewisham^ 
the only novel, in the usual meaning of the term, which 
Mr. Wells has yet written, but which is surely to be 
followed by others. In it we have the history of a student 
of science with lofty ideals who got into the toils of that 
blind force of nature which we call love, and was, in a 
worldly sense, thereby utterly ruined. The sayings of Mr. 
Chaffery, that audacious and unmoral spirit who saw 
things as they are and gained a livelihood by deceiving 
the fools who wanted to be deceived, are the memorable 
utterances in the book. Here, for example, is Mr. Chaf- 
fery's recipe for a happy life: "In youth, exercise and 
learning; in adolescence, ambition, and in early manhood, 
love — no footlight passion. Then marriage, young and 
decent, and then children and stout honest work for 
themselves and for the State in which they live; a life of 
self-devotion, indeed, and for sunset a decent pride — 
that is the happy life ... the life Natural Selection has 
been shaping for man since life began. So a man may go 
happy from the cradle to the grave — at least passably 


happy. And to do this needs just three things — a sound 
body, a sound intehigence, and a sound will. . . A sound 
will. No other happiness endures. And when all men are 
wise, all men will seek that life. Fame! Wealth! Art! 
The Red Indians worship lunatics, and we are still by way 
of respecting the milder sorts. But I say that all men who 
do not lead that happy life are knaves and fools." So that 
only in the worldly sense was Lewisham ruined. At the 
end of the book, as he stands staring through the window, 
thinking of his career perforce abandoned and of the 
prospect of immediate fatherhood ("the most important 
career in the world"), his feelings are symbolized for us 
in an image of really exquisite beauty — "The dwindling 
light gathered itself together and became a star." 

Here, therefore, even in the realistic novel of modern 
matter-of-fact, we are not allowed to get away from the 
scientific principles that man is a part of nature, that he is 
a creature of imperious natural forces, that he is only one 
link in the chain of eternal evolution. 

In the "scientific romances," to which we may now at 
last come, the principle of evolution and a conception of 
"man's place in nature" are Mr. Wells's great basic facts. 

In his lecture on "The Discovery of the Future," de- 
livered at the Royal Institution on January 24th last, Mr. 
Wells contrasted two divergent types of mind, distin- 
guishable "chiefly by their attitude toward time and more 
particularly by the relative importance they attach, and 
the relative amount of importance they give, to the 


future of things." The first type of mind, he continued, 
interprets the things of the present, and gives value to 
this and denies it to that, entirely with relation to the past. 
The second type is constructive in habit; it interprets the 
things of the present, and gives value to this or that, en- 
tirely in relation to things designed or foreseen. "While 
from that former point of view our life is simply to reap 
the consequences of the past, from this our life is to pre- 
pare the future." And he said further: "The former type 
one might speak of as the legal or submissive type of 
mind, because the business, the practice and the training 
of a lawyer dispose him toward it; he of all men must 
most constantly refer to the law made, the right estab- 
lished, the precedent set, and most consistently ignore or 
condemn the thing that is only seeking to establish itself. 
The latter type of mind I might for contrast call the 
legislative, organizing or masterful type, because it is per- 
petually attacking and altering the established order of 
things, perpetually falling away from respect for what the 
past has given us. It sees the world as one great workshop 
and the present is no more than material for the future ^ for 
the thing that is destined yet to be. It is in the active mood 
of thought, while the former is in the passive; it is the 
mind of youth, it is the mind more manifest among the 
Western nations; while the former is the mind of age — 
the mind of the Oriental. Things have been, says the 
legal mind, and so we are here. And the creative mind says, 
we are here because things have yet to be^ 


The sentences which I have italicized contain the key 
to Mr. Wells's philosophy of life. He has no use for pre- 
cedents and conventions. The past may survive only so 
long as it can pass the tests of reason. The present must 
look, never back at death, but always forward toward life. 
Among all Mr. Wells's tales I remember but one, "A Story 
of the Stone Age," which deals with the past. It is the 
future, it is evolution, it is innovation, which he preaches 
and will always preach. 

He said in that same lecture: "The essential thing in the 
scientific process is not the collection of facts, but the 
analysis of facts; facts are the raw material not the sub- 
stance of science; the aim and the test and the justification 
of the scientific process is not a marketable conjuring- 
trick, but prophecy. Until a scientific theory yields con- 
fident forecasts it is unsound and tentative; it is mere 
theorizing." So science is, ultimately, prophecy — some- 
thing to help us to shape our ends. And Mr. Wells is a 
man of science in order, first and foremost, that he may 
be a prophet and map out the path so that humanity shall 
avoid detours. And prophecy is really what he has always 
been at when he has touched science. He may juggle with 
our ideas of time and space, as in The Time Machine^ "The 
Plattner Story," "The Crystal Egg," and "The Accelera- 
tor"; he may startle or shock us by the artistic presenta- 
tion of a scientific "conjuring-trick," as in The Invisible 
Man and The Island of Doctor Moreaii; he may awe us 
by sheer force of an original imaginative conception, as 


in "The Star," "Under the Knife," and "The Man Who 
Could Work Miracles." But his real, preferred business 
has been to prophesy, to peer into the future. In The Time 
Machine^ the Time-Traveller goes forward, not into "the 
dark backward and abysm." Mr. Wells's fancy was youth- 
ful in those days, and the Time-Traveller journeyed 
through a million years or so; he saw a grim and terrible 
vision of the evolution of the "submerged tenth" and the 
"upper classes," a world murderously divided against it- 
self, a world in which it seemed that the aspirations and 
sacrifices and sufferings of mankind had come to nothing 
at all, had ended in utter moral disaster. He went further 
and witnessed the more fatigued revolution of a planet 
occupied by monsters round a sun dying of radiation. 
He watched what was the apparent final stultification of 
a Supreme Purpose. Then he came back and with a 
sublime and justifiable audacity remarked to his friends: 
"No. I cannot expect you to believe it. Take it as a lie — 
or a prophecy. Say I dreamed it in the workshop. Con- 
sider I have been speculating upon the destinies of our 
race, until I have hatched this fiction. Treat my assertion 
of its truth as a mere stroke of art to enhance its interest. 
And taking it as a story, what do you think of it.^" 

The War of the Worlds was not a prophecy, but it was 
in the nature of a prophecy, a speculative, warning 
criticism, so far as it described an organization of intelli- 
gent beings more advanced than our own. And the same 
is to be said of The First Men in the Moon, In When the 


Sleeper Wakes and "A Story of the Days to Come," Mr. 
Wells returned to prophecy in fiction. But it was a much 
quieter, soberer, humbler, and an infinitely more useful 
prophecy than that of The Time Machine. Instead of 
dealing with thousands and millions of years, he dealt 
with a century or so. And in Anticipations of the Reaction 
of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life 
and Thought^ he has abandoned the garb of fiction, and 
he definitely stands forth naked and unashamed as a 
prophet of the real. My personal opinion is that he will 
work still more strenuously in this field, and that in the 
course of a few years, passing down toward the present 
through a series of futures less and less remote (he has 
already retreated from thirty millions years hence to a 
hundred hence), he may develop, still flying all his flags 
of imagination, fancy, humour, satire and irony, into an 
actual, prevalent political force. His strongest points are 
his clear vision and his intellectual honesty and courage; 
his weakest point is his instinctive antipathy to any static 

And his forecast of the more immediate future, his 
creed .'^ You may see it set out with surprisingly close 
texture of detail in Anticipations^ and in a forthcoming 
series of essays, possibly more boldly creative in character 
than Anticipations^ the instant means to the Great End 
may be shadowed forth as they present themselves to his 
mind. Suffice it to say here that Mr. Wells firmly believes 
in universal peace and in the high destiny of nature. The 


Time Machine of seven years ago notwithstanding. "It 
it not difficult/* he has said, "to collect reasons for sup- 
posing that humanity will be definitely and consciously 
organizing itself as a great world-state — a great world- 
state that will purge itself from much that is mean, much 
that is bestial, and much that makes for individual dull- 
ness and dreariness, greyness and wretchedness in the 
world of to-day." 

"And finally," he added, "there is the reasonable cer- 
tainty that . . . this earth of ours, tideless and slow- 
moving, will be dead and frozen, and all that has lived 
upon it will be frozen out and done with. There surely 
man must end. That of all such nightmares is the most 
insistently convincing. And yet one doesn't believe it. 
At least I do not. And I do not believe in these things 
because I have come to believe in certain other things — 
in the coherency and purpose in the world and in the 
greatness of human destiny. Worlds may freeze and suns 
may perish, but there stirs something within us now that 
can never die again." 

And this by way of postscript: "The most persistendy 
fascinating and the most insoluble question in the whole 
world is — what is to come after man?" 

The Cosmopolitan Maga^iney xxxiii (August 1902), 



In the following letter Bennett is taking Wells's side in 
Wells's dispute with the Incorporated Society of Authors, 
Playwrights and Composers and a former collaborator, 
Hugh P. Vowels. Wells had planned in 1928 a third and 
final work, The Science of Work and Wealthy in his project 
to present a popular statement of the current knowledge 
of man, the first two works being The Outline of History 
and The Science of Life, He chose as collaborators for 
this third work Edward Cressy (later C. H. Creasy), an 
experienced writer on industrial subjects, and Hugh P. 
Vowels, a mechanical engineer and a fervent disciple of 
Wells since 1909. According to Wells, ''I did not so 
much want equals ... as intelligent, industrious fags." 
The first book of the new work was to be entitled Con- 
quest of Power. 

By August 1929, however. Wells had developed deep 
reservations concerning Vowels and postponed the pro- 
ject indefinitely. Vowels took his grievance to the 
Society of Authors and, amid a stormy correspondence, a 
writ was issued against Wells for breach of contract. The 
writ was later withdrawn, and the dispute was placed in the 
hands of an arbitrator, Sir Donald Maclean. Vowels 
s 277 


was awarded £1500 in damages in lieu of the £6000 
share in royalties that Wells had originally promised 
him. (Actually Vowels was awarded only /^yoo, since 
Wells had already advanced him, during their brief 
collaboration, >C8oo.) On the intervention and counsel 
of G. B. Shaw, Wells grudgingly accepted the settlement. 

Wells presents his side of the dispute in a privately 
printed pamphlet. The Problem of the Troublesome Col- 
laborator^ Printed for circulation among the members of the 
Society of Authors for their information and not for publica- 
tion^ 1930? ii^ which he vehemently defends his actions, 
and excoriates Vowels and G. Herbert Thring, Secretary 
of the Authors' Society. His reluctant compromise is 
presented in another privately printed pamphlet. Settle- 
ment of the Trouble Between Mr. Thring and Mr. Wells ^ 
A Footnote to the Problem of the Troublesome Collaborator^ 
Pr'mted for private circulation only among those who re- 
ceived the previous pamphlet^ 1930* 

It should be noted, however, that before he composed 
the staunch defence of Wells that follows, Bennett wrote: 
"I found in the post a long, typewritten statement by 
H. G. W. about his difficulties with his collaborators and 
the Authors' Society in his projected work. The Science 
of Work and Wealth. I read it all in my bedroom before 
going to bed. It took twenty-six minutes' full reading. 
It makes a rather sad expose^ by H. G. himself, of his 
violent demeanour in writing business letters when he 
gets cross, ill or worried." (Pound, p. 355.) 


10 March 1930 

Dear Lord Gorell, 

In reference to your circular letter of the 4th March 
with its personal postscript, I have now studied this 
dossier with some care, and I should like to make a few 
observations, not upon the merits of the case, but upon 
the Society's handling of the case as revealed by the 

1. In his letter to Mr. Wells of the 8th November the 
Secretary says that the practice of the Society, when con- 
sulted by one member, A, about a dispute with another 
member, B, is first of all to take counsel's opinion. This 
procedure seems to me to be rather strange. I should 
have thought the first step would be to make some effort 
to bring the disputants together, or at least to ask B for 
his version of the dispute. 

Why should the Society incur the expense attendant 
upon instructing a solicitor to instruct counsel before a 
peaceful settlement has been even attempted.'^ Is this the 
best way of promoting friendliness? And is the fighting 
fund of the Society so ample that it can afford to incur 
legal costs which in the sequel may prove to have been 
unnecessary.^ If the practice of the Society is indeed what 
the secretary says it is, then I venture the view that the 
sooner it is altered die better. 

2. Mr. Wells asked again and again for some particulars 
of the "nature and terms" of the alleged contract on 


which the plaintiff was basing his claim. Apparently he 
never received an answer. Indeed the fixed intention of 
the Society seems to have been to refuse all information 
to Mr. Wells, for the latter was unable to obtain from the 
Secretary the most ordinary particulars of membership 
of the Committee of Management until he consulted a 
solicitor who insisted on delivery of those particulars. 

3. It would appear that the alleged contract between the 
parties was partly in writing and partly verbal. As 
Counsel had only had the plaintiff's account of the verbal 
part of the contract, he must obviously have based his 
opinion on an ex parte statement. And on the strength of 
an opinion so based the Society advised the plaintiff to 
institute proceedings. 

4. A Writ was issued and a statement of claim de- 
livered; the action is pursuing the ordinary course. Yet 
in your circular letter of the 4th you say that the Com- 
mittee are giving the dispute "their most earnest attention 
in the hope of bringing it to a just conclusion." Surely 
this most earnest attention on the part of the Committee 
ought to have been bestowed on the affair before and not 
after the issue of the Writ.'^ 

5. In your circular letter of the 4th you say: "Mr. 
Thring has throughout acted strictly in accordance with 
directions received from the Committee." Have you 
overlooked the third paragraph in the secretary's letter of 
the 4th November to Mr. Wells, in which he specifically 
states that the suggestion it contains is made without the 


authority of the Committee? This unauthorized sug- 
gestion might have been accepted as a benevolent attempt 
to secure peace were it not the fact that the suggestion 
itself partially begs the question. The secretary speaks of 
"the extent of your responsibility." What right had the 
secretary to assume that there was any responsibility, 
having regard to all the circumstances detailed by Mr. 
Wells in his letter to Mr. Thring of November 9th .^ 

To my mind the secretary's attitude throughout shows a 
marked parti pris in favour of the plaintiff. If it be argued 
that the secretary felt aggrieved by the tone of some of 
Mr. Wells's letters to him, I would say that one of the 
chief duties of the secretary in a dispute between members 
is to keep his feelings entirely in abeyance. I do not say 
that the secretary did not keep his own feelings in abey- 
ance. I do not say that as a man he had not some ground 
for irritation. But I do say that as a secretary he was not 
entided to be swayed in the slightest degree by the tone 
of the correspondence. I hope that he was not so swayed. 
And I say further that Mr. Wells's letters were written 
under what I myself would consider extreme provocation 
and when he was physically indisposed. Mr. Wells might 
be excused for thinking that the secretary was treating 
him not as a member of the Society but as some dubious 
publisher should be treated. 

6. Personally I cannot see that Mr. Wells in the corre- 
spondence suggested that the secretary should retire 
"without pension of any kind." Rather he suggested that 


the secretary ought not to be appointed "Consuking 
Secretary." I share this view. I would not, however, for 
one moment imply that the secretary has not loyally 
served the Society to the best of his ability during a long 
term of years. I think he has. 

7. Finally we have the spectacle of the Society's official 
solicitors, their costs no doubt guaranteed by the Society, 
acting in a suit precipitately brought on evidence to some 
extent ex parte^ against a member of the Society. This 
spectacle seems to me to be offensive in a high degree, 
and repugnant to the amenities of the Society. For myself 
I most strongly object to any part of any subscriptions of 
my own being applied to the upholding of such an 
action. And if the action is persisted in I shall be com- 
pelled to consider my position not only as a member of 
the Council but as a member of the Society. I am not 
alone in this attitude. 

I need not assure you, my dear Chairman, that nothing 
I have said is applicable personally to yourself, of whose 
unselfish work on behalf of the Society I have the highest 

Yours sincerely 

Arnold Bennett 


Academy, The, 12, 26, 41, 46, 54, 55, 

Aldwych Theatre, 160 
Allen, Grant, fFhat's Bred in the 

Bone, II 
American Magazine, 179 
Anstey, F., The Man from Blankley's, 

Answers, 29 

Archer, William, 166, 260 
Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, 

Asquith, Elizabedi, 197 
Asquith, Herbert Heniy, 30 
Austen, Jane, 114 
Audiors' Society, 245 

Balfour, Arthur, 120 

Balfour, Lieut.-Col. Eustace, The 
Cyclist Drill, 6y, "Military 
Cycling after Mr. Wells," 63 

Balzac, Honore do, 46, 47, 60, 89, 
124, 152 

Barbel lion,W. N. P. (Bruce Frederick 
Cummings), Journal of a Dis- 
appointed Man, 205 

Barrie, J. M., 58, 67 

Baudelaire, Charles, 143 

Baudoin, Jean, 261 

Beaverbrook, Lord (William Maxwell 
Aitken), 228, 240 

Beerbohm, Max, 175, 251 

Belloc, Hilaire, 175; Calibans Guide 
to Letters, 99 

Belloc-Lowndes, Mrs, The Chink in 
the Armour, The Lodger, 175 

Bennett, Dorothy Cheston, 222, 223, 

228, 240, 256; Arnold Bennett, A 
Portrait Done at Home, 223 
Bennett, Enoch Arnold: 

Letters to Wells: 33, 36-37, 38-39, 
41-43, 49-51, 55-57, 61H53, 65- 
67, 70-71, 78-80, 88-89, 95-98, 
99-102, 104-6, 107-8, 110-14, 
116-20, 122-25, 126-29, 131-35, 
136-39, 140-41, 143-44, i4<>-47, 
151, 152-53, 155-60, 161-62, 
165, 169-70, 171-72, 173, 181, 
182, 185, 187, 189-90, 193-95, 
197, 198, 201, 203, 206-7, (M-*^- 
article 210-11), 213, 218-20, 
224-25, 226-27, 228-30, 231-32, 
235-36, 238-39, 241-45, 246-47, 
248-50, 252, 253, 256 

Letters to Mrs Wells: 129-30, 
144-45, 147-49, 163, 174, 175- 
80, 186, 187-89, 190-93, 197, 
207-9, 212, 2i5-i<>, 221-23, 
227-28, 233-35, 236-37, 240 

Accident, 177, 237; Anna of the Five 
Towns, 23, 24, 36, 50, 54, 84, 85, 
88, 90, 113, 145; The Author's 
Craft, 190; Buried Alive, 150; 
The Card, 179; Clay hanger, 27, 
170, 172; A Credit to Human 
Nature (widi Eden Phillpotts), 
104; Cupid and Common-Sense, 
145; Elsie and the Child, a Tale 
of Riceyman Steps, and Other 
Stories, 230; "Tlie Fallow Fields 
of Fiction," 26, 54; Fame and 
Fiction, 56, 58; "The Fiction of 
Popular Magazines," 46; The 
Glimpse, An Adventure oj the 




Soul^ 157, 168; The Grand 
Babylon Hotel, 75, 87, 151; A 
Great Man, A Frolic, 99, 105, 
106, 109, 140; The Grim Smile of 
the Five Towns, 143, 151; Helen 
with the High Hand, an Idyllic 
Diversion, 170; "Herbert 
George Wells and His Work," 
83; Hilda Lessways, 173; "His 
Worship the Goosedriver," 
105; The Honeymoon, 170; How 
to Become an Author, 91, 98, 

104, 115; Hugo, A Fantasia on 
Modern Themes, 130; Imperial 
Palace, 255, 256; Journal, 38, 

105, 164, 192, 228; "Last Love," 
230; Leonora, 93, 99, 109, no, 
144; "A Letter Home," 11; A 
London Life (with Edward 
Knoblock), 229, 230; "The 
Literary Career," 99; Lord 
Raingo, 21, 234; A Man from 
the North, 12, 47, 48, 50, 82, 
123; "The Matador of the Five 
Towns," 162; Mental Efficiency, 
and Other Hints to Men and 
Women, 142; Milestones (with 
Edward Knoblock), 250; Mr. 
Prohack, 240; "My Literary 
Heresies," 114; "Nocturne at 
the Majestic," in, 116; "A 
Novelist's Log Book," 104; 
The Old Wives' Tale, 18, 20, 
27, 131, 151, 152, 153, 154, 160, 
161, 172, 223, 255; "The Paper 
Cap," 230; The Pretty Lady, 21, 
28; The Reasonable Life, Being 
Hints for Men and Women, 142; 
The Regent, 179; The Religious 
Interregnum, 247; Riceyman 
Steps, 21, 30, 223, 237; Sacred 
and Profane Love, 16, 99, 116, 
121, 140; The Sinews of War, a 

Romance of London and the Sea 
(With Eden Phillpotts), 134; 
"Tlie Story Teller's Craft," 27; 
The Strange Vanguard, 234; 
Tales of the Five Towns, 116; 
Teresa of Watling Street, 112, 
113; These Twain, 21, 180; 
Things Which Have Interested 
Me, 146, 160; "Tiddy Fol-Lol," 
116; The Truth About An 
Author, 85, 93, 98; What the 
Public Wants, 153, 160, 165; 
Whom God Hath Joined, 99, 139 
Bennett, Marguerite, 142, 144, 163, 
175, 189-90, 197, 209, 216; 
Letters to Mrs. Wells, 149-50, 


Bennett, Richard, 209; Arnold Ben- 
net's Letters to His Nephew, 202 

Bennett, Tertia, 5 1 

Bergerac, Cyrano de, 261 

Bishop of Chester, 227 

Black and White, 62, 82 

Blackburn, William, 107 

Blackie (Blackie and Sons, Ltd.), 54 

Blackmore, Richard D., 114 

Blunt, M. Frank, 115; "M. H.-G. 
Wells etle Style," 113 

Bookman, 12, 83 

Booth, George, 225, 227 

Bowkett, Mrs Sidney, 178 

Bowkett, Sidney, 51 

Braddon, Miss (Mary Elizabeth), 58 

Bray, Lord, 242 

Bray, Reginald, 242 

Brontes (Emily and Charlotte), 114 

Broughton, Rhoda, 58 

Burton, William, 35 

Carlyle, Thomas, 71 
Cassell and Co., 214, 256 
Castlerosse, Lord, 240 
Chatto & Windus, 205 



Chapman & Hall, 54, 67, 70, 73, 155 

Chesterton, G. K., 30 

Church, Major Archibald, 248 

Churchill, Winston, 29, 30, 219 

Colvin, Sidney, 161 

Conrad, Joseph, 20-22, 26, 29, 40, 

211, 219; Almayers Folly ^ 38; 

"Amy Foster," 69; Letters to 

IVilliam Blackwood and David 

S. Meldrum^ 107; Lord Jim, 53; 

The Mirror of the Sea, 140; The 

Nigger of the Narcissus^ 38-39; 

Romance, 106 
Contemporary Review, 62 
Cooper, Diana, 240 
Corelli, Marie, 68 
Cosmopolitan Magaiine, 72, 79, 83, 

218-19, ^7^ 
Court Theatre, 240 
Cressy, Edward (C. H. Creasy), 

The Crime, 70, 76-78, 89, 90 
Crockett, Samuel Rutherford, The 

Stickit Minister, 67 
Crowley, Aleister, 107-8 
Cust, Harry, 12 

Daily Chronicle, 57, 158 

Daily Express, 138-39 

Daily Mail, 29, 137, 221 

Daily News, 191, 198 

Davidson, Jo, 250 

Davray, Henry, 105, 113-16, 140 

Dean, Basil, 230 

Dickens, Charles, 17, 28, 47, 54, 60, 

94-95, 114 
Die Zeit, 65, 66 
Dixon, Ella Hepworth, As I Knew 

Them, 251 
Doran, George, 250 
Dostoevsky, Fedor, Crime and 

Punishment, 106 
Doubleday, Doran and Co., 250 

Douglas, George (G. D. Brown), 
The House with the Green 
Shutters, 67, 84 

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Sir Nigel, 

Dumas, Alexandre, 66 

Dunn, J. N., 43-44 

Eadie, Dennis, 170 

Edel, Leon, Henry James and H. G. 

Wells, 183-84, 203 
Edward VII, 20 
English Review, 27, 153, 155, 160-62, 

165, 173 
Ervine, St John, 216 
Evening Standard, 30, 251 
Eye-Witness, 181 

Fabian Society, 133, 171 

Family Herald, 46 

Figaro, 178 

Film Weekly, 246-47 

Filon, Pierre Marie Augustin, 79 

Flaubert, Gustave, 89; (Euvres 

Completes, 39 
Flower, Newman, 256 
Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier de, 

Forster, E. M., 20 
Fortnightly Review, 56, 62-63, 66-67, 

81, 169 
Fortune Theatre, 257 
French Academy, 140 
Frohman, Charles, 78 

Galsworthy, John, 19, 28-29, 221; 
A Man of Devon, 53; From the 
Four Winds, 53; Jocelyn, 53; 
Justice, 30; Villa Rubein, 53 

Gamett, David, The Golden Echo, 47 

Garnett, Edward, 47, 60 

Garvice, Charles, 174 

George Newnes Ltd., 209 



Gissing, George Robert, 24, 55, 58, 
60, 62, 85; "A Novelist of the 
Unknown," 56; By the Ionian 
Sea, 54; Charles Dickens, 54; 
The Common Lot, 48; Demos, 

Goble, Warwick, 42-44 
Gorell, Lord, 253, 279 
Gosse, Edmund, 141, 181 
Graz, Fr., "H. G. Wells," 65 
Green, Eleanora, 131, 134 
Griffith, George Cherwynd, A 

Honeymoon in Space, j}; The 

World Masters, 73 
Guest, Mrs Haden, Princess Marie 

Jose's Children's Book, 196 

Harmsworth, Alfred, 29, 153 
Harris, Frank, The Bomb, 155 
Harrison, Frederick, 78, 89, 92 
Hart Davis, Rupert, Hugh Walpole: 

A Biography, 211 
Hawtrey, Charles, 165-66 
Haymarket Theatre, 78, 170, 192 
Heam, James, 165 
Heinemann, William, 42 
Henley, W. E., 12, 82, 157, 259 
Hichens, Robert, The Garden of 

Allah, 219 
Hind, C. Lewis, 12, 41, 54-56, 65 
Horrabin, J. F., 214 
Hueffer, Ford Madox (Ford), 29, 

153, 161-62; Romance, 106 
Humberstone, Thomas Lloyd, 

Schoolmaster's Yearbook, 80 
Hume, Fergus, The Mystery of a 

Hansom Cab, 137; Whom God 

Hath Joined, 137 
Huxley, Aldous, 75, 237, 248, 263 
Huxley, Julian, 248 

Illustrated London News, 69 
Independent Review, 128 

James, Henry, 19-21, 23-24, 26, 29, 
46, 181-84, 203~4; "The New 
Novel," 28; The Wings of the 
Dove, 84; Boon, 203 

Johnson, Dr Samuel, 63 

Jones, Henry Ardiur, 164 

Journals of Arnold Bennett, 17, 127, 

Kailyard School, 67 
Keats, John, 62, 161 
Kennedy, Bart, Bart Kennedy's 

Paper, 137; Bart Kennedy's 

Broadsheet, 137 
Keun, Odette, 243-44, 250-51 
Kingsway Theatre, 228 
Kipling, Rudyard, 39 
Knoblock, Edward (with Arnold 

Bennett), A London Life, 229; 

Milestones, 250 
Komisarjevsky, Theodore, 240 
Kozaciewicz, B., 105, 113 
Kyne, Peter B., 220 

Lafourcade, Georges, 143 

Lankester, Edwin Ray, 59, 231 

Laski, Harold J., 248 

La Nouvelle Revue, 113 

Lawrence, D. H., 223 

League of Free Nations Association, 

199, 201 
League of Nations, 198-200, 231 
League of Nations Society, 200 
Lee, Vernon (X^'iolet Paget), "On 

Modern Utopias, an Open 

Letter to H. G. Wells," 169 
LeQueux, William, 137 
Lipton, Sir Thomas, 97 
Lloyds Newspaper, 116 
London University, 263 
Long, Ray, 218 
Low, Sir Sidney, A Vision of India, 




Lubbock, Percy, 203 
Lucas, E. v., 55 
Lyric Theatre, 237 

MacBride, Ernest William, 231 
Maclaren, Ian (John Watson), Beside 

the Bonnie Brier Bush, 67 
Maclean, Sir Donald, 277 
The Macmiilan Company, 115 
Malthus, Thomas R., 71 
Marlowe, Christopher, loi 
Marriott, Charles, The Column, 

Marriott, Frederick, 11, 33 
Masterman, C. F. C, 242-43 
Maude, Cyril, 78, 87, 89 
Maupassant, Guy de, 260; "Etude sur 

Gustave Flaubert," 39; Bouvard 

et Pdcuchet, 39 
Melchett, Lord (Alfred Moritz 

Mond), 248-49 
Meldrum, David S., 107 
Mercure de France, 113 
Milestones, 250 
Milton, John, 124 
Mirbeau, Octave, Le Journal d'une 

Femme de Chamhre, 83 
Montagu, Venetia (the Hon Mrs 

Edwin), 240 
Moore, George, 23-24, 39, 58, 60, 62, 

84-85, 122 
Morning Post, 43, 227 
Morris, William, 42 
M'Taggart, John M'Taggart Ellis, 


Nash's Magailne, 228 
National Liberal Club, 112, 164 
National Observer, 82 
Nature, 264 
Nerney, Winifred, 257 
Nevinson, Henry Woodd, The 
Valley of Tophet, 37 

New Age, 155, 158, 172, 181 
Newbolt, Sir Henry, The Old 

Country, 139 
Newnes, George, 209 
New Review, 12, 38 
New York IVorld, 220 
Nicoll, Sir William Robertson, 83 
Normal School of Science, 81 
Norris, Frank, 84; The Octopus; a 

Story of California, 84 

Orage, A. R., 155 

Orwell, George, 21 

Oxford Philosophical Society, 1 1 1 

Page, T. E., 241 

Pall Mall Budget, 12, 41 

Pall Mall Gazette, 12, 82 

Pall Mall Magazine, 41, 228 

Pearson's Magazine, 42, 59, 62, 105, 

Perry, John, 81 
Phillips, John S., 179 
Phillpotts, Eden, 41, 71, 104, 114, 

116, 134; (with Arnold Bennett) 
A Credit to Human Nature, 104; 
The Secret IVoman^ 117; (with 
Arnold Bennett) The Sinews of 
the Sea, 134 

Pinker, J. B., 42, 52, 6}, 71-72, 79 

117, 219,235 
Plato, loi, 106, 157-58 
Poe, Edgar Allan, 260-61 

Pound, Reginald, Arnold Bennett, 18, 

134, 278 
Prestage, Edgar, 227 
Pugh, Edwin William, 40, 161-62; 

Tony Drum, 40 

Rabelais, Frangois, 64 
Radford, Ernest, 171-72 
Ray, Gordon N., Henry James and 
H. G. Wells, 183-84, 203 



The Realist, A Journal of Scientific 

Humanism, i8, 248-49 
Reform Club, 163-64, 183-84, 189, 

203, 217, 241 
Reinhardt, Max, 240; The Miracle, 

Review of Reviews, 11, 71 
Reynolds, Stephen, 161-62; A Poor 

Mans House, 161 
Rickards, E. A., 183 
Ridge, William Pett, 125 
Roche, Raphael, 238-39; Science of 

Curative Medicine, 239 
Roche, Walter, 41 
Rowe, Cosmo, 42 
Rowntree, Seebohm, 194 
Royal College of Science, 75, 81, 263 
Royal Institution, 75, 271 
Royal Societies, 112, 115 
Royal Society of Literature, 181, 183 
Royalty Tlieatre, 165 

St John, Christopher, 51, 53; 

Crimson Weed, 51 
Salter, Sir Arthur, 23 1 
Sanderson, F. W., 202 
Saturday Review, 38, 67 
Savoy Hotel, 232 
The Schoolmaster* s Yearbook and 

Directory, 80 
School World, 81 
Scott, Sir Walter, 114 
Service, Robert W., 220 
Shaftesbury Theatre, 145-46 
Shakespeare, William, 174; Much 

Ado about Nothing, 263 
Sharpe, Cedric, 186 
Shaw, George Bernard, 30, 133, 278; 

Mrs. Shaw, 133 
Sliufflebotham, Frank, 215 
Simmons, Arthur Thomas, 81 
Simons, Eric N., Dear England, 252 
Sinjohn, John (John Galsworthy), 53 

Sitwell, Edith, 216 

Society of Authors, 253, 277 

Sonnenschein, Swan, 80 

Spenser, Edmund, loi 

Squire, J. C, 197 

Staffordshire Sentinal, 104 

Stage Society, 145, 153, 160 

Stead, W. T., 11; Maiden Tribute of 
Modern Babylon, 71; If Christ 
Came to Chicago, -ji 

Stephens, James, Insurrections, 167 

Stevenson, R, L., 157, 161 

Stockley, Cynthia, 220 

Strand Magaiine, 59, 62, 65, no 

Sullivan, Edmund J., 44, 120 

Sunday Times, 190 

Swift, Jonathan, 74 

Swinnerton, Frank, 192, 205, 219, 
221-22, 227, 229; An Autobio- 
graphy, 192 

Temple, Richmond, 232 
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, 114, 210 
Thackeray, William Makepeace, 28, 

94-95, 114 
Theatre Royal, 230 
Thring, G. Herbert, 245, 278, 280- 

Tillotson, Lever, 49 
The Times, 97; The Times Literary 

Supplement, 138 
Time and Tide, 231 
Tirebuck, William Edwards, 37; 

Miss Grace of All Souls, 37 
Tit-Bits, II, 29 
Tolstoy, Leo, Resurrection, 5 5 
Tonson, Jacob (Arnold Bennett), 155 
T. P.'s Weekly, 76, 104, 114 
Tribune, 131 
Tristram Shandy, 64 
Turgenev, Ivan, 47, 58, 60, 62, 89, 97 
Turner, Reginald, 175 
Tyrwhitt, Reverend Leonard, 104 



Unicorn^ 33 

Unwin, T. Fisher, 38, 47 

Vedrenne, J. E., 170 

Verlaine, 143 

Verne, Jules, 73-74, 261-63, 267; 
From the Earth to the Moon, 
261, 263; Around the Moon, 261, 

Vernon, Frank, 145 

Vowels, Hugh P., 277-78 

Voysey, C. A. F,, 44 

Walker, John Brisben, 72, 74 

Walpole, Hugh, 211 

Watson, Henry Brereton Marriott, 
112, 125; Godfrey Merivaie, a 
Portion of His History, 82 

Webb, Beatrice, 30, 133 

Webb, Sidney, 30, 133 

Wells, Frank Richard, 105, 191, 233, 

Wells, George Philip, 55, 130, 202 

Wells, Herbert George: 

Letters to Bennett: 34-35, 37-38, 
40, 43-49, 52-55, 58-60, 64-65, 
67-69, 72-77, 81-88, 90-94, 
98-99, 103-4, 106-7, 108-9, 
115-16, 121-22, 126, 130-31, 
135-36, 139-43, 146, 150-51, 
152, 153-55, 160-61, 163, 164, 
166-69, 170-71, 172, 182, 183- 
84, 186, 196, 199-200, 201-2, 
204-6, 214, 217, 223-24, 226, 
230, 237, 245-46, 247-48, 251, 
252, 253-56 
"The Accelerator," 273; An 
Englishman Looks at the World, 
128; Ann Veronica, 28; Antici- 
pations, 21, 30, 56, 66-67, 70, 
72-74, 81, 99-101, 113, 260, 
275; "Bindon Intei-venes," 41; 
Christina Alberta's Father, 232- 

33; "The Cone," 33; Conquest of 
Power, 277; "The Contemporary 
Novel," 26, 27; "The Country 
of the Blind," 1 10; "The Crystal 
Egg," 273; "A Cure for Love," 
41; "The Cyclist Soldier," 63; 
"The Discovery of the Future," 
74; The Dream, 228; Experi- 
ment in Autobiography, 26, 35, 
39, 133, 224; "The Faults of the 
Fabian," 133, 138; First and 
Last Things, A Confession of 
Faith and Rule of Life, 151, 155, 
159; The First Men in the Moon, 
65, 74, no, 260-61, 264, 274; 
The Food of the Gods, 105, 113- 
14; The Future in America, A 
Search After Realities, 131, 139; 
"The Hammerpound Park 
Burglary," 117; In the Days of 
the Comet, 138, 139; The In- 
visible Man, 34, 74, 145, 258, 
260; The Island of Dr. Moreau, 
12, 113, 260, 273; Kipps, 15, 20- 
21, 51, 126, 128; Love and Mr. 
Lewisham, 45, 47-48, 60-61, 63, 
74, 105, 260, 270; "The Magna- 
nimity of the Man of Pleasure," 
41; Mankind in the Making, 18, 
21, 8r, 99, 118; "The Man Who 
Could Work Miracles," 274; 
Marriage, 26, 179, 185; "Master 
Anthony and the Zeppelin," 
196; Men Like Gods, 223; A 
Modern Utopia, 15, 18, 106, in, 
117, 121, 169; "A Motli-Genus 
Nova," 117; Mr. BritUng Sees 
It Through, 21, 193-94; The 
New Machiavelli, 172-73, 185; 
New Worlds for Old, 150, 156, 
159; "Tlie Novels of George 
Gissing," 62; The Outline of 
History, 17-18, 22, 59, 206-7, 



209, 211, 214, 277; The Passion- 
ate Friends^ 185; "The Plattner 
Story," 273; Problem of the 
Troublesome Collaborator, 278; 
The Research Magnificent, 187, 
189; "Scepticism of the Instru- 
ment," hi; "The School- 
master and the Empire," 128; 
The Science of Life, 277; The 
Science of Work and Wealth, 
277-78; The Sea Lady, 59, 
87, 89, 260, 264; The Secret 
Places of the Heart, 255; 
Settlement of the Trouble, 278; 
Socialism and the Family, 138, 
142; " The Soldier Cyclist," 63; 
"The Star," 274; The Stolen 
Bacillus and Others, 117; The 
Story of a Great Schoolmaster, 
202; "A Story of the Days to 
Come," 41, 274; "A Story of 
the Stone Age," 273; Tales of 
Space and Time, 41; Text- Book 
of Biology, 51; The Time 
Machine, 12, 33, 45, 260, 267, 
273-76; Tono-Bungay, 20, 23, 
160-61; "Underneath," 41; 
"Under the Knife," 274; The 
Undying Fire, 202; "The Vacant 
Country," 41; The War in the 
Air, 165; The War of the 

Worlds, 42, 260, 274; Washing- 
ton and the Hope of Peace, 220; 
"The Ways of the City," 41; 
The Wheels of Chance, 12, 260, 
270; When the Sleeper Wakes, 
43, 80, 84, 260, 274; The 
Wonderful Visit, 260, 264, 269; 
The World of William Clissold, 
17, 234, 236, 255 

Wells, Mrs H. G., 18, 22, 34, 51, 55, 
57, 71, 7<5, 80, 89, 102, 125, 129, 
144, 147-49, 163, 166, 174, 176- 
77, 186-88, 192-93, 197, 207, 
212, 215, 221-22, 227, 233-34, 

Wells, Joseph, 14 

West, Geoffrey, 254 

West, Rebecca, 248, 256; Harriet 
Hume, 256 

Westminster Gazette, 113, 128, 

Whitten, Wilfred, 76, 114 

Wilde, Oscar, 175 

Williamson, Mrs C. N., 219 

Windsor Maga^ine^ 105, 11 1 

Woman, 12, 33, 34, 45, 51, 259 

Woolf, Virginia, 28 

Yellow Book, The, 1 1 

Zola, 83, 127; UCEuvre, 127 


Date Due 

Returned Due 


"■b ■ V V . :i 


^^6, f / 

Arnold Bennett and H G Wells mam 

3 lEbE DBETl 7MT3